Cattle R & D Site, Kapunda

Trial date  July 2018

Trial Period

69 days


To determine if the Pump System contributes to weight gain in animals


A purpose-built research and development site

Water Type

Treated town water

Algae issues


Stock type/numbers

Angus cattle/20-40 in each pen


Trial Clarification 

Pump 1: Relied on the daytime sun to operate the solar pump.

Pump 2: PIR motion sensor with power supplied by two X 12-volt batteries charged by a 200-watt solar panel.

This second pump system was designed to operate when Pump 1 was unable to operate due to overcast conditions.


Controlled Pen

  • Water trough only.

Trial Pen

  • Two pumps were installed with a magnetic water softener attached to the water trough.

  • Pump 2 would only operate when the PIR sensed cattle within 2 metres of the water trough, and would switch the pump on for a five minute period.

  • The system was designed to allow protection of the trial and provide oxygenated water to the cattle at all times.

The cattle’s feeding was monitored by a computer system that collected data when the cattle were fed from the feed bins. The system operated 24 hours a day.

The platform in front of the feed bins was also fitted with weight scales, simultaneously recording the cattle's weight when feeding.

The feed bins themselves also contained weight scales, and the total amount of feed eaten was also recorded when each animal ate.


Trial Comments 

  • The results of the trial can be viewed in the additional attached documents.

  • The results were very encouraging. With less feed eaten, more weight was actually gained by the trial cattle in comparison to the controlled cattle.

  • The Pump System failed after approximately 48 days due to damage caused by the cattle to the external power supply, and this damage not being reported in a timely fashion.

  • I would visit the site approximately every two weeks and often find the trough and pump cleaning had not been completed as part of the trial process.

  • Considering this trial commenced in July 2018 during winter with overcast and cold conditions (not favourable for solar), the system provided us with some great anecdotal evidence.

A quick summary of actual results after 41 days

Trial Cattle Overall Growth Weight: 12.6kg more than controlled cattle (12.6kg @ $3/kg = $37.80 Per Head)

Trial Cattle Overall Feed Intake: 63kg less feed than controlled cattle (63kg @ .28 cents/kg = $17.65 Per Head)