Post submitted by Alan Wiebe, Watershed Assistant at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District
Mateychuk Winter Watering System
A small group of curious cows approach us at the site of the Mateychuk Winter Watering System. It’s a sunny March morning and we are facilitating a tour of this unique project with the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) and Brad Mateychuk. The cows don’t seem to mind our presence as they take turns lapping from the water basin.
The Mateychuk Winter Watering System is designed to provide a safe and reliable water source to livestock. It uses a solar powered pump to draw water from a nearby dugout. Thesystem has already weathered two winters of use and it is a great way to restrict livestock access to surface water, like rivers, streams, and dugouts.
Problems with Direct Watering
A couple of years back, the Mateychuk’s lost two cows that fell through the dugout ice while trying to reach the water. Aside from the high cost and risk of losing livestock, direct watering is also related to a number of herd health problems, like increased exposure to water-transmitted diseases, foot rot, and leg injuries.
Allowing livestock direct access to surface water is a concern to producers, their downstream neighbours, and the broader community. Livestock may contribute to loss of riparian vegetation and function, and the bigger concern relating to the deterioration of water quality.
Mateychuk’s Partner with the SRRCD
The Mateychuk’s partnered with the SRRCD to install their winter watering system with the SRRCD providing 50% of the total project cost. Our Riparian Management program for livestock is designed to protect and enhance the area along waterways known as riparian area or floodplain. We provide funding for fencing off sensitive dugouts, streams, creeks, and rivers, establishing alternative watering systems, installing livestock crossings, and restoring riparian areas through tree planting.
Today, the Mateychuk’s are still pleased by how well their system performs in the harshest of winter months. Their positive feedback has spread by word-of-mouth and three other local area producers have partnered with us to implement similar projects.
Brad Mateychuk is such a strong supporter of this program that he is available for site tours and to answer questions for other interested producers. The SRRCD would be happy to arrange a tour of the Mateychuk winter watering system or assist you in learning more about our Riparian Management programs for livestock producers. Feel free to contact our office in Steinbach at 204-326-1030 or in Vita at 204-425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrwd.ca or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.