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RANCHERS EVALUATE REMOTE STOCK WATER MONITORS DURING FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION Kevin Heaton Utah State University Extension Kane, Garfield & Washington Counties.

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Presentation on theme: "RANCHERS EVALUATE REMOTE STOCK WATER MONITORS DURING FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION Kevin Heaton Utah State University Extension Kane, Garfield & Washington Counties."— Presentation transcript:

1 RANCHERS EVALUATE REMOTE STOCK WATER MONITORS DURING FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION Kevin Heaton Utah State University Extension Kane, Garfield & Washington Counties

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3 Introduction Utah ranches spread across thousands of acres in remote areas Monitoring stock water is challenging and costly Winter survey of participating ranchers indicated that on average ranchers: – spend 22.6 hours per month checking water – drive 375 miles per month checking water – spend $ per month checking water

4 Cost Saving Technology Solar powered, satellite radio stock water monitor (SWM) Antenna Solar Panel Battery Satellite Radio Computer Board Pressure Transducer

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6 SWM Cost Monitor $1,800 Installation $100 Website Service Fee $3-10/month

7 Demonstration Installed 15 monitors from November 09 to June 10 Five ranchers from each of the following counties participated – Kane – Garfield – Washington Seven full-time ranchers Eight part-time ranchers

8 Demo (cont) Ranch size ranged from 80 to over 1,000 head – Seven ranchers own > 300 head – Eight ranchers own < 300 head Installation locations ranged – miles from the base operation – from 3,500 ft to 7,000 ft elevation Ten ranchers monitor storage tank water levels which feed a trough(s), the other five ranchers monitor trough water levels Most ranchers only use their stock water monitor on winter pastures

9 SWM Data Example Graph

10 Rancher Evaluations Ranchers used the monitors an average of 7 months, ranged from 4-12 months Cost savings of $165/month, ranged from $40-500/month Time savings averaged 11 hours/month, ranged from 4-24 hours/month 63% of ranchers checked the website daily

11 SWM performed as programmed 88% of the time 100% of ranchers indicated the SWM were reliable enough to make management decisions 100% wanted to continue to use the SWM 45% used the internet for the first time to collect and manage data on their operation Rancher Evaluations (cont)

12 When asked, Based on your experience with the monitor and assuming you dont have one, would you purchase a SWM? Only 63% said, Yes The other 37% responded, No or Maybe, the reasons: – Upfront costs are high in comparison to the savings – Upfront costs are excessive for an unproven, experimental monitor – Too risky due to the possibility of vandalism

13 Problem SWM – Unreliable Reporting

14 Problem SWM – Low Battery Changed battery Week cloudy weather

15 Problem SWM – Data Spikes Mounted antenna to top of tank

16 Pressure Sensor Going Bad

17 Rancher Undoing Everything to See Why It Works

18 Vandalism -- Every Ranchers Concern

19 Summary Overall, remote stock water monitors are feasible, reliable and cost effective for many ranchers Adoption by ranchers who have – Unreliable or – Intensively managed systems Approved in Arizona as an NRCS Conservation Practice, i.e. EQIP cost sharing

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