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DELTA water treatment boosts cattle health on outback station

Posted on December 9, 2016 salty bore water, salinity, cattle, stock watering, bore water treatment

Getting water to sheep, cattle and other animals during our hot Australian summers is crucial and DELTAwater solutions is helping make the job easier. Properties in rural Australia have highly efficient pump and piping systems in place to make the most of the country’s scant water supplies but bore water high in salinity and minerals causes major headaches including blocked pumps and pipes and stock simply refusing to drink the poor quality water. Here’s a story about one of our customers in outback Australia…

Making unpalatable water palatable again

When the owners of a remote Northern Territory station told new managers Steve and Rebecca Severin they wouldn’t be able to grow a garden because the bore was too salty, Rebecca didn’t believe them.

The owners of Tarlton Downs Pastoral Company Bill and John Stead also warned them the station’s Shorthorn-Santa Gertrudis refused to drink the water at one set of cattle yards near the homestead.

Tarlton Downs is halfway between Mt Isa and Alice Springs on the Plenty Highway. The station’s landscape is a mixture of rocky mountainous outcrops, gibber plains and Mitchell and Flinders Grass downs country. And it’s no exaggeration to describe the outback station as being ‘in the middle of nowhere’.

Searing summer temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius make high quality bore water for stock and household use essential.

Rebecca, the only woman on the station for the three years they were managers, said some areas had excellent water and in other areas it was ‘just terrible’.

Determined to have a garden

They arrived in winter and despite the warnings, Rebecca quickly set about establishing a vegetable garden, lawn and flower beds around the homestead.

“We were told nobody could grow anything at the homestead and that it would die because the bore water was so salty but me being a bit of a green thumb decided to give it a go anyway because I didn’t really believe them,” she said.

“But come summer I started to see what they were talking about. The bore water was just too harsh on all the plants and nothing would grow.”

Cattle would walk away

At the cattle yards, it was a similar story. Rebecca says the cattle would sniff the water in the trough then walk away. As word spread among the herd that the water was unpalatable they wouldn’t bother coming in to the trough.

We’d have no tracks for weeks on end coming into the trough. It was only if the cattle came in from a long way and were desperately thirsty that they’d even come near it. Even then they would rarely drink it. The water just sat there stagnant and we’d end up having to dump the entire tank we’d pumped from the bore because they weren’t drinking it.”

Rebecca and Steve starting looking around for a solution and came across our 100% Australian made water treatment product.

Instant results

Rebecca says within a week of installing the DELTA water treatment system at the homestead they noticed changes.

Everything started to grow and I was able to grow veggies, flowers and lawn. It was phenomenal – just incredible. We certainly didn’t expect such a dramatic change so quickly.

Encouraged by the results, in November 2012 they sent a sample of the cattle yard bore for testing through DELTA’s water testing service. After a full water analysis, DELTA discovered a reading of 10,380 µS/cm, which falls into the category of ‘extremely high Class 6’ salinity. The water also had extreme hardness levels, extremely high chloride and sodium levels and extreme Sodium Absorption Rate (SAR) levels.

The company recommended installing a DELTA Heavy Duty SL, a product they have developed to treat previously-untreatable water with extremely high salinity and minerals.

Heavy Duty SL unit

Rebecca said they were confident in the treatment’s success because DELTA had a good understanding of their water and a product custom-designed to treat their specific problems.

Within a day of installing the Heavy Duty SL onto the bore we could see a difference. Once the cattle worked out the water was okay we started getting a high turnover coming in to drink. They were coming from both sides to have water. This meant they could walk further to get better food and the bore that was previously useless was useful again.

Rebecca says although they’ve now left Tarlton Downs to work on Mt Riddock Station, they are in regular contact with the owners.

“We see them and they say the garden is still growing and the cattle are still drinking from the DELTA bore. As far as the DELTA-treated water goes, it’s made an incredible difference to cattle health and made unpalatable stock water palatable again.”

  • The first step to DELTA solving your water problems is to send in a water sample so we can do a full water test and analysis – find out more HERE
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