The feedyard business is a tough business, with high risk factors at play and strict management requirements by government agencies like the EPA.
One factor all cattle-feeders know to be a main priority is dealing with runoff water. This is why South Dakota State University’s Southeast Research Farm took on a project to develop a vegetative treatment system for their 300 head feedyard.
“That’s below the limits to where we’re required to do anything for containment or with runoff, but the board of directors thought it was a responsible thing to do and we could show producers who were faced with making those decisions or having to do something like this as a possible way of doing it,” says farm operations manager Brad Rops in an article with The Tri-State Neighbor.
The research farm worked with engineers in the Natural Resource Conservation Service to develop a drainage system that directed runoff water into a designated area. Runoff then filtered through a hardware screen to remove debris before being run down a water line to a catch well where it is then pumped onto the farm’s treatment area of different forages such as alfalfa and orchard grass.
According to Rops, the farm chose to utilize solid risers, 23 risers with a diameter of 150 feet, to distribute the runoff water, instead of a pivot or traveling gun.
“The whole system will put out about 200 gallons per minute. They’ll handle solids up to an inch, so if sediment’s coming through, it’s not going to plug things up,” he says.
The vegetative treatment system has proved to be a viable option for the research farm, built to keep up with 4.8 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.