A couple years ago Supreme Feeders in Kismet, Kansas, received a letter from the Kansas Department of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources saying they had overused their annual water allocation and needed to be in compliance by the next year. Supreme Feeders immediately wanted to begin cutting back on water usage as much as possible throughout the entire yard. After evaluating areas of usage, they first looked to easier solutions they could address. First, they chose to wash the equipment and roll stock fewer times per month while still maintaining cleanliness. Second, while a safe and healthy environment is key to the feedlot, they determined they could wash the hospital and processing barns fewer times per month in order to conserve, while still maintaining a safe standard. Third, they began to wash their water tanks biweekly, whereas, they had been washing the tanks every week.
Once the easier conservation options had been implemented, the feedlot began researching other alternatives for more efficient water management and conservation practices they could execute. Supreme Feeders chose to run a six-inch underground drain line for each section of pens to send all the overflow water to a collection point. After collected, the reclaimed water is pumped to the treatment building to a set of filters and a UV light which clears the water of any particles and pathogens it may contain. This filtered process results in clean water, free of harmful bacteria and safe for the cattle to drink and reuse throughout the feedyard.
The reclamation system has been running for more than a year now and the recycled water accounts for approximately 20 percent of the feedyard’s total usage. Supreme has found they are using less than their appropriated amount by about 200 acre-feet. Supreme Feeders has saved more than 90,000,000 gallons of water since implementation and has found they are now pumping 20 percent less water from their water wells. This has proved to be a great example of a future conservation measure that didn’t mean an inventory reduction for the feedyard.