National Handbook of Recommended Methods for Water Data Acquisition

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11.I.1. Description

Livestock water use includes water used to raise cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and poultry, but excludes horses, which are considered part of animal specialties water use. About 60 percent of livestock water is used for drinking (U.S. Soil Conservation Service, 1975). Other livestock water uses (fig. 9) include: (1) evaporation from stock ponds; (2) dairy sanitation, including utensil cleaning, parlor washdown, and cow washing; (3) cleaning and waste-disposal systems; (4) cooling of an animal or a product; (5) processing animal products; and (6) incidental water losses. Livestock water use seldom is monitored or measured by the farmer. The SIC codes for this category ranges from 021-025.

Figure 9.

Figure 9. Diagram of livestock and animal specialties water use.

The Animal Specialties water use includes water use associated with the production of fish in captivity (aquaculture water use), except offstream fish hatcheries (commercial water use), and other commercially raised animals such as horses, llamas, and animals raised for fur. The SIC codes for this category is 027.

Drinking rates of livestock and other commercially-raised animals vary depending on the animal and its environment. Climatic variables, such as temperature and humidity, and other variables, such as type of food supply, all affect the volume of water used by livestock.

Water-use activities in the livestock and animal specialties categories include withdrawals from ground or surface water; deliveries from water suppliers; consumptive use in the form of evaporation and incorporation into the animal and animal products, such as milk; and return flow.

11.I.2. Sources of livestock and animal specialties water-use information

Information concerning livestock water use may be obtained from any of the following sources: The number of livestock per county may be obtained from (1) the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1987 Census of Agriculture---County data; (2) Federal or State Crop Reporting Service; (3) State Cooperative Extension Service; and (4) State Department of Agriculture.

Information concerning the population of animal-specialty species or the number of animal-specialty farms may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Aquaculture; or Professional, Technical, and Trade Journals and Associations (such as a State Aquaculture Association, or a State Horsemen's Association)

Water use per head varies with differing climates and differing animal-husbandry practices; therefore, it is best to obtain a value based on conditions in your State. The average water use per head of livestock may be obtained from County Extension Agents, Universities and Colleges of Agriculture, and Agricultural Research Stations.

Unit values based on sample measurements are the most common procedure used to estimate water use by livestock. Estimates of livestock numbers can be obtained from State crop and livestock reporting services and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Agriculture. Estimates of livestock-water-use rates can be obtained from the National Resource Conservation Service, local universities, and county extension agents.

11.I.3. Measurement, estimation, and data-collection methods for livestock and animal specialties water use

The amount of water used in this category generally is estimated by multiplying information on the number of head of livestock and poultry per geographic area (Census Bureau minor civil division, county, or state) by a coefficient (water use per head). The average water use per head of livestock may be obtained from County Extension Agents, Universities and Colleges of Agriculture, and Agricultural Research Stations. Care must be used in applying coefficients to ensure that the appropriate time span is incorporated into the calculation. Poultry population data for the chicken broiler industry may be annual production statistics; that is, the number of fryers for the year. The determination of an average poultry population is calculated by dividing the total population by the life-span, which is 90 days from hatch to slaughter.

Primary data acquisition rarely is used in livestock and animal specialties because water use is calculated on a per head basis. Primary-data collection is appropriate if there are a few large dairy operations or feed lots in the area of interest. Secondary data are almost nonexistent for this category. Almost all users are too small to require permits in any State, and no Federal agency currently regulates their activities. This situation may change as non-point source pollution concerns increase--large feedlots and dairy operations may require monitoring.

Little information is available on water use by fish farms, probably because the water is used only as a vehicle to raise or hold the fish and a portion is still available for other uses. Coefficients for the estimation of water use by fish farms usually are expressed in terms of water volume per facility, water volume per pond surface area, or in terms of water volume or pond surface area per pound of fish. Recently (1995), the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service published a flyer on catfish farms for 15 selected states.

The source (ground water or surface water) may be more difficult to estimate. This is especially true in states where surface-water sources are used during late spring, summer, or autumn and ground-water sources are used for the remainder of the year. This estimation can be made in direct proportion to the amount of time each source is used, unless seasonal consumption data are available. Local county extension agents or personnel from an agricultural research station may be able to provide an estimate of the water sources used.

11.I.4. Livestock and animal specialties selected references

These references are supplemental to the ones in the General reference Section.

Florida Agricultural Statistics Service, 1995, Catfish: 2p.

Livestock Wastes Subcommittee of the Midwest Plan Service, 1985, 2d ed., Livestock Waste Facilities Handbook: MWPS-18.

Pote, J.W., Wax, C.L., and Tucker, C.S., 1988, Water in catfish production: sources, uses, and conservation: Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Special Bulletin 88-3, 16 p.

Schulz, R.S., and Austin, T.A., 1976, Estimating stock water use in rural water systems: American Society of Civil Engineers, Journal of the Hydraulic Division, v. 102, no. HY1, Proceedings, p. 15-18.

Steele, E.K., Jr., 1986, Estimate of livestock water use in Nebraska during 1980: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 86- 4031, 38 p.

Trotta, L.C., 1988, Water used for aquaculture in Minnesota, 1984: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4159, 6 p.

U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1989, United States summary and state data, 1987 census of agriculture, Geographic area series, v. 1, part 51: Special Report Series AC 87-A-51, 415 p. and appendixes.

-----1990, Farm and ranch irrigation survey (1988), 1987 census of agriculture, related surveys, v. 2, part 1: Special Report Series AC 87-RS-1, 114 p.

U.S. Soil Conservation Service, 1975, Livestock water use: 41 p.

Welchert, W.T., Wiersma, Frank, and Armstrong, D.V., 1991, Dairy design: Corona, Calif., The Dairyman, December 1991, p. 20-23.

White, R.K., and Forster, D.L., A manual on evaluation and economic analysis of livestock waste management systems: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA 600/2-78-102, 303 p.

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