Water Waste Reduction Saves Money-Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2180. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 29 June 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2180

An Alberta pork producer suggests technologies designed to cut the amount of water wasted by hogs in the grower barn not only offer environmental benefits, they also offer substantial economic benefits.

As part of project to examine how water wastage and greenhouse gases can be reduced in hog operations, High River based JV Farms installed water meters and compared usage by pigs drinking from ball bite type nipple drinkers to those using standard drinking systems for one calendar year.

The switch to ball bite drinkers slashed water use by an average of 35 percent with the most dramatic reductions evident during the hottest days of the summer with no negative impact on behavior or performance.

Dennis McKerracher says actual cost benefits will vary from farm to farm but he expects the switch to pay for itself quickly on his operation.

"Looking at my well pump, which works at five gallons a minute, looking at my kilowatt hours, just the pumping of the water into the barn will pay for the project on my farm in a couple of years. When you say you've reduced your water use by 35 percent, what you have done is you've reduced the volume of your manure by 35 percent, Depending on how far you have to haul your manure, depending on the efficiency and size of your equipment, there's a lot of money to be had there.

You end up with a more concentrated form of manure. Your travel distance is less. Your land base could, depending on your soil analysis, be treated more effectively.

That's where the greenhouse gas mitigation part of the program comes in. The energy savings is what puts the money back in your jeans. A reduction in energy is a reduction in greenhouse gas."

McKerracher notes, while many of the environmental technologies are capital intensive, a project like this requires little financial investment, especially if drinkers are replaced as they wear out, and the benefits are huge.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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