Farmers taking innovative approach to watering cattle

Watering cattle with a pump powered by battery charged by solar
Watering cattle with a pump powered by battery charged by solar

The innovative efforts of two Berwickishire farmers to prevent their cattle drinking from open water courses will feature at a free event.

The event will be held at Brockholes Farm near Grantshouse at 10.30am on Tuesday, October 1.

The practice can be in conflict with current Diffuse Pollution General Binding Rules (GBRs), which are designed to protect and improve water quality. Farmers are now being encouraged to keep their livestock clear of watercourses – but face the challenge of still giving their cattle access to a drink.

The farmers - John Prentice (Brockholes farm) and Paul Adams (Monashee farm) - are working with Scotland’s Rural College in a project exploring how it can be done.

John said: “We have already fenced off many of our traditional drinking points and replaced them with a piped supply but this isn’t possible at all sites. Being involved in the project has enabled us to do more.”

The GBRs specify there should be no significant poaching (trampling of the ground) within 5m of a watercourse. Inspections by SEPA in the Eyemouth and Pease Bay catchment identified waterside sites where poaching was happening and farmers are being encouraged to take proactive steps to reduce these.

At the open day visitors will see installations of a livestock operated pasture pump, a solar-powered pump and a RAM pump which harnesses energy from the watercourse. Each system uses a similar abstraction method that minimises the impact on the flow of the water course and bankside structure.

Visitors to the event will see the different systems and hear about the experience of the farmers. Anyone planning to attend is asked to register with Val Angus at the St Boswells FRBS office on 01835 823322.