‘Most farmers nowadays are very aware of the costs involved with using the water…’

Farmer Tom talks about the challenges faced by older farms in terms of storing rainwater. He then describes the huge amounts of water that thirsty cattle can consume in hotter months and the environmental implications of this. however, farmers near Tom are all metered and aware of the costs of water.

Well we’ve got to do something about looking after our resources, I mean, there’s no reason why we can’t all Harvest water from the roofs and save it and use it. In farming I suppose we probably don’t do enough to save what we’ve got when it’s there but that’s usually because if the layout of a farm is old and as you redevelop you…if you built a brand new one you could plan for all your drainage from all the roofs to go into a catchment area where you could then pump or gravity feed or whatever, but obviously as things develop you don’t tend to have that that ability when you’re sort of gradually improving bits of your farm. I’ve got people in the buildings now, so my water consumption is much lower than when I had cattle here regularly, but the cattle are here throughout the summer when it is dry relying on water from the troughs then the same as they would in any farming environment.

But obviously when it is dry, they do take an awful lot of water. And that’s when you notice that they’re drinking the tanks dry because the water isn’t coming from the mains fast enough and obviously that’s only on a small scale. If you go to a very large area where there’s a lot of farms and also irrigation pulling from the rivers and things then obviously it’s going to have a massive effect on the water supply locally. Nowadays most farmers will be on a metering water system, anyway. The days of just turning the tap on not caring, because it’s not on a meter, and we only pay so much a year in a business rate for the water, that ended years ago, especially around here every, water trough in the field or every supply to the fields had a meter put on it. And so you’re very aware of the cost involved of using the water. So the water is not a freebie, It’s actually an expensive input to the farm. Which is why many Dairy Farmers now put bore holes in, solely for washing out the parlours and things and maybe for the cows to drink to eliminate the heavy usage of water. It won’t eliminate the heavy use of, but it eliminates some of the cost of having it through the drinking water system when non-drinking water would be perfectly adequate to do the same job.


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