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By properly managing your pasture water, you not only provide high-quality water to maintain the health and productivity of livestock on your farm, but you also contribute to maintaining the water quality downstream – water that is used for livestock and human consumption, as well as recreational activities like fishing and swimming.
Pasture conditions that promote frequent gatherings of cattle near streams and ponds may increase sediment, nutrient and pathogen loading of these water sources from manure deposition, as well as bank erosion. However, such water-quality problems may be controlled by grazing management or pasture characteristics that alter the timing, frequency, duration or intensity of cattle congregating near pasture streams and ponds. The most appropriate practices will depend on: the characteristics of pasture and water sources; costs, labor and management to install and maintain a management practice; economic resources, including government cost-sharing to fund the installation of a management practice; and benefits beyond water-quality improvement, such as improved forage quality, providing equipment crossings, or improved hunting that will result from a particular practice.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
pasture water, water quality, livestock, riparian buffer
Agriculture | Hydrology | Natural Resources Management and Policy
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Isenhart, Thomas M.; Kovar, John L.; and Russell, James R., "A Guide to Managing Pasture Water: Streamside Buffers" (2008). Agriculture and Environment Extension Publications. 222.