Rainwater Capture and Reuse Using Gravity and Solar Power

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $5,712.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine, poultry, sheep


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, grazing management, manure management, grazing - multispecies, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, stocking rate, watering systems
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, youth education
  • Energy: energy use
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, soil stabilization, wildlife
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    This project will address numerous problems:

    Problem: run off rain that comes from our bam roof falls into the alleyway and pen areas of our pipe corral. We work in this area daily plus we have the brooder pen for our chicks, a shelter area for the sheep and the working area for the cattle located here. This not only makes for sloppy/muddy working conditions for us, less than ideal living conditions for the livestock and leads to erosion of this area as well.
    Solution: By extending our bam roof past the edge of the pipe coral, installing guttering and channeling the water via piping to our farm pond, we will eliminate excess water coming into this area. The rainwater will become an asset to the farm operation rather than a liability.

    Problem: even with the above average rainfall of the last two years, our pond is often low when demand is highest. In 2006, it reached an all-time low level of 2 feet, which had an adverse impact our farming operation as well as on the pond's fish and wildlife.
    Solution: Rainwater collected from the bam roof will be piped to the pond using gravity flow, supplementing the pond's natural drainage area.

    Problem: Two paddocks (each 6 acres) used in our grazing rotational system have no water and no power available.
    Solution: Installation of a solar powered pumping system from the pond will allow us to install water in both paddocks allowing us to fully incorporate these paddocks into our grazing system. In addition to increasing the value of these two paddocks to our operation, the solar powered watering system would reduce power usage and demand on our well that would otherwise be required to serve the cattle's water needs in other paddocks with water and power access.

    Problem: During the past two years, southwest Missouri has experienced two severe ice storms resulting in periods without electricity of up to two weeks for many in the area.
    Solution: A solar powered pumping system would not be affected by such service interruption and would allow us to use the paddocks in question.

    Problem: During times of drought, forage can be dramatically reduced.
    Solution: With increased water in the pond and solar powered pumps, we could irrigate the two paddocks, increasing grazing for our livestock.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.