Water use and conservation at Texas High Plains beef cattle feedyards Academic Article uri icon


  • Water conservation in the Texas High Plains has become increasingly important as groundwater resources are depleted. A water usage study was performed over a two-year period at a 50,000-head beef cattle feedyard. Water usage was correlated to meteorological data from a NOAA weather station. Average daily water usage over the two-year period was 40.9 L/head/d (10.8 gal/head/d). Whenever water trough floats were adjusted for winter conditions, 66% of total usage was for drinking, 2% was used in the feedmill, and 32% was used for overflow to prevent freezing. Whenever water trough floats were adjusted for summer conditions, 89% was used for drinking, 3% was used in the feedmill, and 7% leaked into the overflow collection system. Options identified for conserving water include installing more efficient water troughs, repairing existing troughs, and installing an overflow recycling system. Potential beneficial uses for the overflow water include irrigation of crops, sprinkling pens for dust and temperature control, and use in steam flaking of grain at the feedmill. If all of the overflow water were recycled at this feedyard, then 162 000 m3 (42.7 million gal) would be conserved per year (22% of total annual use). Construction of a $39,000 filtration-chlorination water treatment system would have a payback period of six years at 8% interest, and result in a net monthly savings of $707 after payback of the capital investment.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Parker, D. B., Perino, L. J., Auvermann, B. W., & Sweeten, J. M.

complete list of authors

  • Parker, DB||Perino, LJ||Auvermann, BW||Sweeten, JM

publication date

  • January 2000