Limiting Grazing Cattle Access to Ponds to Improve Water Quality, and water and Feed Intake

2004 Annual Report for OS03-008

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2003: $14,945.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Stephen Workman
University of Kentucky

Limiting Grazing Cattle Access to Ponds to Improve Water Quality, and water and Feed Intake


Use of improved strategies, such as intensive rotational grazing, requires producers to look for dependable and economical methods of providing drinking water to livestock. Poor access to water and poor water quality can affect livestock behavior and production. In situations where direct access to water is viable, benefits may be gained by the use of controlled or limited access points in ponds and streams. The implementation of limited access points may result in reduced stream and pond bank damage, reduction in erosion, improved vegetation along banks, and better and safer footing for livestock. An access ramp is the minimum improvement that can be made to a water source. A floating electric fence would help limit the number of cattle using the access ramp. Gravity-fed systems can also be implemented on sloping pastureland where a pond is located up slope from the watering site. Ultimately the use of access ramps and gravity-fed systems will help improve water quality and cattle performance.

Four farmer cooperators in Northern Kentucky participate in this project. Pasturelands in this area are rolling-to-steep and are permeated with creeks and dry runs. Cooperators herds vary between 30 and 60 cows and calves. All cooperators use ponds as watering points for beef cattle. Two of the cooperator ponds were discussed in the 2003 report.

The third cooperator had a ramp with floating fence installed during summer of 2004. The adjacent pond perimeter was fenced to exclude cattle. In addition to the managed pond, the operator has provided us access to an unmanaged pondfor comparison.

A fourth cooperator was added in the fall of 2004. A floating fence was installed at this site.

We have been documenting water quality changes in ponds by collecting monthly water samples from each pond during the non winter months.

A field day was held at one site, to discussthe construction of a managed farm pond with beef operators in the region.


Completed installation of a gravity-fed system at one farm.

Completed construction of an access ramp at the third and fourth farms.

second surveying of ponds scheduled for spring of 2005.

A project web site was developed and it is available at

Started monthly collection of water samples.
Conducted a field day for local producers in August 2004 at one cooperator farm.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Conducted a field day in August 2004 to show construction of a ramp and floating fence. Approximately 50 people attended the field demonstration.

Included information on construction of gravity-fed system in the Kentucky Master Cattleman Environmental Stewardship curriculum. This information was presented to seven groups around the state so far, with an average attendance of 35 people per session.


Larry Ramsey

Kim Strohmeier

[email protected]
Owen County Extension Agent
University of Kentucky
Owen County Extension Service
265 Elis Highway
Owenton, KY 40359
Office Phone: 5024846703
Don Hedrick

Beef Producer
7740 Georgetown Rd
Owenton, KY 40359
Office Phone: 5024844503
Paul Veech

Distric Conservationist
Owenton Field Office
205 West Perry St.
Owenton, KY 40359
Office Phone: 5024842719
David Honaker

Beef Producer
1030 Highway 325
Worthville, KY 41098
Office Phone: 5024632604