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Development of a Rainwater Harvesting Model for Broiler Farms to Estimate On-farm Storage Needs

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-055)
Authors:   Carson M. Edge, Jeremiah D. Davis, Joseph L. Purswell, William D. Batchelor, Eugene H. Simpson
Keywords:   Computer model, poultry water consumption, rainwater harvesting, water harvesting capacity.

Abstract. Access to water is critical for poultry production and can present a significant cost to poultry farmers depending on water supplies available to them. Many farmers rely on low-yield and poor water quality wells or costly municipal (city or county) water sources. Implementing a rainwater harvesting (RWH) system may reduce reliance on insufficient or costly water supplies for farmers in high precipitation areas across the U.S. Current uses of RWH systems have been primarily focused on reducing stormwater runoff in urban areas and providing sources of potable and non-potable water based on daily average water consumption values. Due to the variability in total water consumption values for a poultry farm because of evaporative cooling in summer months, sizing a RWH system for a poultry farm based on average consumption values is insufficient. The objectives of this research were to develop a RWH model to estimate the main water consumption sources for a poultry farm on a daily basis and to evaluate the performance of the model over a 25-year period for a simulated farm in north Alabama currently using a 379 m3 RWH system. Using these calibrated and validated water consumptions equations, the model estimated total water consumption to within 12.7% of total farm consumption. Further refinement of the model is needed in order to provide farmers with a reliable decision tool for sizing storage capacity.

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