Please stay with me a minute before you think I’ve slipped a cog. I’ve got 2 pastures on the ranch each about 2,000 acre, that because of the quality of their grass that grows there, it’s not my favorite place to be with my cattle, during the “green season", that’s the time when our cattle are adding on most of their total weight for the year in just 100 days of Spring. So I want my cattle to be out where my best grass lives. Then along comes the middle of June and in a matter of a week or 2, our multiple species of annual grasses set seed. With their life cycles complete most all of the nutrients disintegrate as our annual grasses dry out and change their color from green to gold. This once powerhouse of nutrients which made my cattle gain between 2.5 pounds and 3.5 pounds per day is now able to only maintain their weight that they gained during the preceding 100 days. These pastures that for too long I have discounted their value as I was only considering my cattle’s welfare. But what to me is important today that is vastly different than what was important 20 or 30 years ago. Today we have the ability to supplement the cattle on the ranch that will stay 'til the following summer. This giant candy bar in a plastic tub is packed with protein, minerals and weighs 250lbs. It’s hard as a brick to limit consumption. Cattle being like us, like sweets so they spend part of their day licking with diligence this candy bar and maybe digesting .5 lbs. per day which is enough along with all the dry grass they can consume to stay in a healthy condition, all the while, waiting for those 100 magical days of spring when my cattle will again put on another 200 to 300lbs. of weight.
So what is the missing ingredient? Water, and the ability to distribute it. But with the development of a new product called Polyhose that comes in 4,000’ rolls. I use it where water pressures are less than 200 lbs./sq. inch. And I use P.V.C. Pipe where water pressures are above 200 p.s.i. Next add in several worn out tires used on trucks and tractors in the mining industry that can weight as much as 1 ton each and are 8’ in diameter. When cut in half with a hand held Sawzall and 3 hours of diligent sawing you will have 2 troughs that will last a 100 years and beyond.
Now comes the fun part. Putting this hose in the ground. I use one of my son Greg’s tractors, a CAT with lots of power and the ability to climb hills so steep that it would almost make a Goat say “whoa”. Greg’s tractor has a Bulldozer blade on the front that you mount an 8’ reel with the 4,000’ of Polyhose. Next we take the end and pull it over the top of the cab and down to a ripper shank that has a pipe welded to the back of the shank that we push the hose into. With the forward movement of the tractor the ground is ripped 18” deep and the hose is now unwound and buried to this depth. Travel speed is about 1 mile/hour. Once the hose is ripped/delivered to the various water trough locations, we attach a float valve in the trough that opens and shuts as the water level goes up and down . Just like the float valve in the tank of your bathroom toilet.
These new pastures are now available. What with plenty of reliable water, all kinds of critters from Honey Bees, birds, rabbits, rats, lizards, cattle and deer and a multitudes of other critters can now take up residence usually within a half mile diameter circle of one of my watering troughs. So if you’re passing by one day and you’re a little dry. Just cup your hand under the outlet and with the other open the float then enjoy a nice drink of cool clear water.
See Ya Jack