We are rejuvenating the farm and part of that involves bringing a small herd of cows back for rotational grazing. We have the water figured out in the pasture but for wintering the cows we need to figure out a good solution. The electricity to the far barns had been taken down some years ago and the well in that corner has not been used for some time. We are thinking rather than run power all the way over there again just for the well (probably 500-600 meters) we would look at setting up a solar array to power the pump. I believe the well is about 200 meters deep. I was wondering if anyone had any adventures with solar power for wells?
I am thinking to account for days with little to no solar power we should have a holding tank as back up.
If the old well has been unused for a long time you'll probably want to make sure it's still good before you spend a lot of money. Some of the old metal casings are getting towards the end of their lifespan and screens can clog with sand, etc. You will also want to know what the static level is. The gov of alberta has an online database that may have your well info on it...you can find out more on the well depth and maybe get the old recharge rate from there. You'll need your land location. I hope your well is 200 feet not 200 m as that would make for some difficult pumping.
If the old barns in the far corner are good, use-able buildings it would be a fine thing to have water there...otherwise it might be easier to let the cows come in to where you do have power and water. Also remember, if they have enough space they will do fine on snow for water for much of the winter, but you will need a back up for icy conditions or hard freezes without snow. The chinook down there might make it more difficult
Another thing to think about with remote (away from the mains electricity) watering sites is how you are going to frost protect the system. There are ways to do it but it will add to the cost, if you are comparing it with running power out to the barns...(and then you would also have benefit of power / light out at the barns) The alberta agriculture website would be a place to begin looking around at remote livestock watering options.
Dave mentioned mechanical windmills..i'm a big fan, and am partly on that path with a cylinder pump installed to a hand pump jack..windmill is the next step. I wouldn't want to hand pump water for very many head of cattle. Windmill to storage tank still requires some creative thinking for frost proofing...depending on whether you will be there to attend to it all the time.
Let's get him boys! We'll make him read this tiny ad!