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Smart water solutions for smart farmers

Water is an integral part of agricultural production and the well-being of livestock. However, due to population growth, urbanization, and climate change, competition for water resources will increase immensely, with a particular impact on agriculture. In those conditions, water management becomes one of the key priorities for farmers. Below you will find more on ThingsLog Smart water solutions for smart farmers.

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The population is expected to increase to over 10 billion by 2050, and whether urban or rural, this population will need food and fiber to meet its basic needs. What’s more, future demand on the water will require as much as 25% to 40% of water to be re-allocated from lower to higher productivity and employment activities, particularly in water-stressed regions. In most cases, such reallocation is expected to come from agriculture due to its high share of water use.

Why it is so important to monitor the water consumption of your livestock

Livestock water consumption

Providing adequate water to livestock is critical for animal health and production. Livestock water requirements vary significantly depending on the species and it is influenced by several factors such as age, rate of gain, pregnancy, lactation, activity, type of diet, feed intake and environmental temperature. To meet water intake requirements, farmers obtain water from wells, fountains, surface water and moisture found in feedstuffs. Regardless of location and the way animals drink, water consumption can be monitored. Farmers can get graphed data to analyze and receive early warnings & notifications to be able to react on time and prevent damage to their herds.

Livestock water usage varies significantly depending on the species. Water consumption is influenced by a number of factors, including age, rate of gain, pregnancy, lactation, activity, type of a diet, feed intake and environmental temperature. Livestock obtains water from wells, fountains, surface water and moisture found in feedstuffs.

10% decrements in livestock body water can be critical for animal health and fatal for most of the species.

Importance to monitor water consumption in chicken farms

Chicken drinking water

Recent research has shown that during the first full day of its life a chick will eat approximately 1/4 of its weight in feed.

By the end of the first week, a 40-gram chick (0.09 lbs) will eat approximately 150 grams (0.33 lbs) of feed. That would result in a gain of approximately 140 grams (0.31 lbs). This gives a feed conversion ratio (FCR) of approximately 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) of gain/ lbs. of feed (Alqhtani, 2016).

Chicken water consumption growth over time

That very high growth rate during the first week is only achievable IF the chicks have access to plenty of water. Simply, if a chick does not drink, it will not feed and will not grow.

Pigs water consumption

Pig driking water

As per [4] “the average daily gain of all pigs is 0.70kg per day. Water consumption increased linearly, with a lower rate of increase as pigs neared slaughter weight. On average, pigs consumed (use plus wastage) 7.07 litres of water per kg of gain.” Also, as per [4] “the average pen water consumption per pig in relation to observed symptoms of disease (as recorded by the health scores), showed a reduction in water consumption in pens in suffering from scouring at a clinical score of four in week two of the trial.” So again, like chickens and cattle, reduced water consumption is a sign that something is happening with your pigs.

The 7 key factors that determine how much water is needed:

  1. Animal type
  2. Age of the animal
  3. Ambient temperature
  4. Production level
  5. The moisture content of the feed
  6. Feed energy sources
  7. The protein level in the feed

In conclusion, precise monitoring of water consumption is very important. Knowing how and when to irrigate is essential to developing sustainable and highly productive farming operations.

ThingsLog core capabilities for smart farms and agriculture 

 

How does ThingsLog can help?

Figuring out the importance to monitor the water consumption of livestock we have put together a solution for water consumption metering and monitoring. The solution allows farmers to monitor through the ThingsLog mobile app on the phones the water consumption of their animals together with the level in their tanks and dwells.  The solution could be enhanced by ThingsLog pressure monitoring in order to detect sudden pressure drops in water supply pipes. Pressure drop in water supply networks is a sure sign of lack of water in the pipes and this can cause issues for you and your stock. It is crucial to get an instant alarm notification and react fast.

Finally, if the farm has pumps to bring in water from boreholes, wells and lower reservoirs we can offer a ThingsLog pumping station. The solution automation allows the farmers to remotely monitor and control pumps intelligently based on the water level of the local water source and remote reservoir.

What are the benefits?

  •  Get early warning alarms for possible issues with animal water consumption
  • Avoid driving long distances to check equipment
  • Reduce operational costs
  •  Save valuable water resource
  •  Improve animal welfare

How can I try?

Choose now from one of our standards sets smart farming for livestock:

  • Flow monitoring –  If you want to know the water consumption of your stock and have an existing meter – order a flow monitoring data logger.
  • Level monitoring – If you want to measure the level in your tanks, ponds, streams, or reservoirs – order a level monitoring data logger.
  • Pressure monitoring – If you have issues with the pressure in your water supply network – order a pressure monitoring data logger.
  • If you have a pumping station or an idea – Drop us an email and describe your project.

Conclusion

Being able to accurately measure water usage during the stock life has tremendous benefits. Farmers that understand the importance of monitoring the water consumption of livestock have significantly better chances to grow better herds or flock with fewer costs.

Generally speaking, the more water animals are drinking, the better they are doing. If water usage is lower compared to previous periods, it typically means the animals are eating less than before, resulting in slowed-down growth. Possible reasons are extreme temperature changes at the house and/or animals are unwell and have gotten sick. This could be an incident with the drinker system or a hole in your tank. Regardless of the reasons, having a water monitoring solution capable of accurately measuring animals’ water usage is one of the best and most inexpensive methods of providing a farm manager with an indicator of their livestock life conditions.

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