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Has anyone tried the winter cattle watering systems like the cap solar or kellnsolar? We winter our cattle till january on a quarter with just a dugout and I am tired of the chopping and worries of falling through the ice... has happend a few times. Not to mention it wrecks the dugout with the manure on it.
 

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There wouldn't be enough drop to rig up a gravity system by chance. I guess that's one advantage to being in the hills. I have no experience with solar.

I'm thinking there's still some funding under Growing Forward yet? I have approvals for some water systems from this spring that I will be completing in the next couple weeks.
 

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Nope... shes flat as can be. I havent either... just from what I have seen on videos and reading.
 

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I have not experimented with solar. I have used a propane trough heater that hangs on a stand I made for on the ice. It's interesting and okay, but I just don't like using it when the ice gets thicker and you have to move to deeper water.

This doesn't solve all of the problems you mentioned, but it sure takes the hard work out of it. This is a gasoline powered drill with a 2 inch bit and an extension. It's a Stihl brand tool. The hockey puck on the shaft is in case the bit pulls the extension out of the chuck when you break through. You just have to draw the bit up every 2 to 4 inches to clean out the cuttings so it doesn't pull too hard on the chuck.



I usually just chisel a trough using a T handled bar on the surface of the ice and drill one or two holes in the bottom. There is no danger of anything losing its life from slipping a leg down the hole.

 

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I don't have any hands on experience with solar systems designed for winter use, however I have certainly pushed to the limits use of one of my regular solar pumping setups. More than once have chopped two inches of ice out of a trough well into December. That particular setup is two 700 gallon troughs hooked together and supplied by a floating 12v pump, but the supply line is setup so it completely drains back into the dugout each time pump kicks out, even all summer. Line between fence and troughs runs inside a length of 2 7/8 tubing to protect the 1 1/2 plastic. For use in extended cold temps, like Nov and Dec, first you rig your float power cable thru a switch so you control pump operation manually, usually you're feeding some by now, most often pumping during the time spent tearing a a few bales apart is sufficient for the day. I also tie a few straw bales together and lay them on the bank of dugout, covering the outlet hose right above the water line. This keeps the line from freezing at the ice level. The crossover line is buried under several inches of dirt between the two troughs, but eventually will freeze, and then I simply turn the outlet into each trough and fill it independently. You need to monitor the ice thickness on dugout as I found from experience, its easier to keep your pump halfassed chopped free to facilitate removal when its time to shut the system down for winter. Be sure your wires are secured to your water line. Oh and I forgot, once ice begins to set up on dugout, remove your tether line. I've pumped well into winter for upto 150 pair in this manner, not the greatest, but one can get by. I have often thought of putting a heater in the trough, then it could run automatic as the float wouldn't freeze, but just have never got there yet.

As for the proper systems, two are in the works, just haven't had time to complete them. One is going to be a gravity system as Dan is speaking of, and the other much like the first example in the attached link. I have seen both systems in operation and they are slick setups. I have my own hoe and such, so no biggie to take on such projects, cost isn't much of an issue that way, I just don't have time to get the dam things done is all. To hire stuff out, then it could get costly. And you can get double duty from your pumps if you use them in summer as well.

Anything that keeps them out of the dugout is good in my books. And while I have never had a wreck on ice myself, I've certainly heard of them, and no one needs that:(

Link on various systems
http://www1.foragebeef.ca/$foragebeef/frgebeef.nsf/all/ccf154/$FILE/remotewinterwater.pdf
 

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I water our bulls with a solar system all winter. There are only 15 bulls at the most. Water has a lot of "heat" in it. The more animals you water the less trouble with freezing you will have. I water them out of a well so the water is warmer than a dugout. I use an old uke tire that I have put an insulated cover over with a drink tube in it. I have a small shed ( kinda like an injection well shack) over the well and the other half of the tire. I use a dual line fish bubbler with silicone hoses, one line bubbles air under float switch the other bubbles in the drink tube. I run it with a cheap inverter from Canadian Tire. To do this in a dugout we install a wet well beside the dugout. If you want more info send a pm with your ph # and I can describe things better and send you some pictures. I've been watering our bulls for quite a few years. I still check it frequently. You have to scrape frost off of panels the odd time. I recommend a wind charger too. Some days we don't have much sun or little sun in the winter.
 

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there are a few frostfree nosepumps around here, they seem to work good. calves might take some time to catch on. my avatar works best for me, i drilled down 450 feet of two inch oil field pipe, and hit an artesian well, water comes out at twenty gallons a minute, and there is 52 psi, kinda think that well is worth more then the quarter it sits on.
 

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I have the cap solar 24 volt system. Pumping out of a well. Pump is sitting at 190' down. I'm watering 120 cows in the winter and 120 pairs in the summer.
The water tank is 450 gallons. Tank is insulated and the heat from the water keeps it from freezing up. If the wind is blowing, you still have break the ice from the drinking holes.
Have the found the 4 - 6 volt deep cycle batteries with last 6 days if you don't have any sunlight to recharge them ( found out the hardway on that one the 2nd winter. Had a week of fog in the winter)
Love the system. The only other thing I would do, is install a wind turbine along with the solar panels. One more way to charge batteries in low light conditions
 

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I water all winter on a solar system I built. I have two solar panels right now. I think they are 70 watts each. Four would be better. Have to charge up batteries in Dec - Jan if running over 100hd on it. I run 5 deep cycle batteries. For the waterer I use a wet well (24" culvert) rigged up a bowl on top out of mineral tub, motion sensor triggers water drains back when done. Use cheap bilge pump to get water up. It never freezes even when not in use. The control system has been a work in progress though. I do not like electronics in the cold. I have a manual override on it if there is a failure that hooks pump straight to batteries. It is similar to some available systems. I would like to build another system similar to what Alberta Buck described and have it so I could move it between dugouts.
 

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We have been using Kelln wet well system for about fifteen years now and really like it. We have three 90watt panels, a wind charger and four 12v deep cycle batteries. It's a 24v system. Used to have two 24v bilge pumps hooked together but they were garbage one was always crapping out. Now have a bigger single pump and that has been way better. No pump trouble for five years. Older control units were a problem but the one we are using now is much better as well. We water 200 cows out of a 36" plastic bowl. Put a 1482case combine tire around culvert for protection since its plastic and cut tire for water bowl to sit in. Since we were already using solar pumps at all our dugouts it didn't cost much to set up. Tried insulated troughs but that was a nightmare. If cattle didn't bother coming for water you have a very good start on an ice block when weather was cold. That said the new troughs are much better now
 
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