Ewe and Lamb Trial, Murray Bridge

Trial Name  

Burbridge Ewe and Lamb Trial.

Trial Date March 2017 
Trial Period  Approximately 10 weeks.

To trial the Pump System with water softening magnets in poor quality water.


Farm paddock, wheat and barley stubble

Water type

Bore water with very high levels in salts and iron.

Algae issues 

Yes, minimal.

Stock numbers 300.
Cleaning frequency (pre-trial)

7-10 days.


Trial Clarification 

Trough 1: Pump System only with water meter (located on the left in the vision).

Trough 2: Original trough only with water meter (located in the centre trough in vision).

Trough 3: Pump System with magnet and water meter (located on the right in the vision).

  • Three troughs were set up with water meters on each trough.

  • A motion active video camera was also set up to monitor the animals' drinking habits and observe if there was a preference to any of the trial troughs, and indicate whether this correlated with the water meter readings.

  • If the water meters became inoperative, visual data and evidence would still be provided.

  • Water analysis was also undertaken with the results included in this document.

Trial Comments

  • The client has struggled to produce good quality lambs for the market within the normal time frame for many years. This is despite investing numerous years to improve the genetics of his flock to very high industry standards.

  • This trial was deemed a failure due to very little data actually being recorded by the farmer. 

  • In addition, the sim card in the camera was not updated at any time, and troughs and pump filters were also not cleaned as required.

  • The trial was subsequently abandoned and all equipment was removed.

  • When inspecting the troughs and pumps, residue scale was observed throughout the trough which had the pump and the magnet attached (Trough 3). This was very intriguing and only occurred in this trough. This result indicated, in my opinion, that the magnet was working and segregating minerals in the water. I believe the majority of this mineral is iron.

  • Upon reviewing the videos, it became apparent that the ewes were most frequently consuming water from the trough with the pump and magnet in place (Trough 3). 
  • In addition, birds also preferred to drink and bathe from the troughs with the pumps installed.

  • In conclusion, this trial indicates there is still much to understand about this water type and the magnetic water softener. In this respect, the trial was a success.


The ewes have been drinking the same water type for approximately 7 years. My observations indicate that sheep are very fastidious drinkers, and changes in water type can present many challenges for farmers. This trial demonstrates that by improving the water quality, animals will adapt very quickly.