Water supply is a vital component of a farm and making sure systems are working efficiently can save water, time and money. The following tips from DairyNZ will help identify opportunities to reduce water use and improve efficiency.
Older poor-quality water lines and connections are more likely to split and leak.
Water lines that are near the surface, run under races or over drains are particularly at risk of damage. Mark the locations of these weak spots on a map.
Having a check and maintenance system for water troughs that staff are familiar with is an important preventative measure for leaks.
A farm map can be used to outline details of the water system, highlight areas prone to leaks and losses, identify where improvements could be made and where meters should be/are installed.
Farm water maps are useful for relief milkers and staff so problems can be solved when you are off the farm.
Details should include:
Include on your map an indication of what is a fix and what is to be replaced when it breaks down. This will help to spread the cost of upgrades over a manageable timeframe. Find out how your farm’s water use compares to others in your region and throughout New Zealand by using DairyNZ’s online Water Use Calculator
It is estimated that 26% of stock drinking water is lost as leakage. This wastes valuable water, causes areas of mud and flooding and incurs extra pumping costs. Having leak detection systems in place and a process to deal with leaks helps to manage them and reduce these effects.
Leaks can vary in the rate of water loss. Fast leaks are often noticed immediately and fixed quickly while small leaks can often go undetected for a long time.
Using a water meter to detect leaks With a water meter, water use can be monitored when water should not be flowing e.g. at night when cows are not drinking. If water is flowing, then the dials should be turning slowly and it is likely there is a leak. Areas of the farm can then be turned off with isolation valves, to work out where the leaks are.
When a data logger and telemetry is installed, finding slow leaks is much easier. Night time water use over a period can be monitored and if water use is higher than it should be, then it may be due to leaks. If houses are connected to the stock drinking water line they may use water at night. Areas of the farm that the cows are not in can be turned off with isolation valves over successive nights to work out where the leak is. The nightly recorded water use can be checked to see if the water use has decreased.
Article supplied by DairyNZ