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November 8, 2018

5 Things You May Not Know About Concrete Troughs

Agriculture, Livestock Troughs, Animal Products

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >5 Things You May Not Know About Concrete Troughs</span>


Are you planning on a concrete water trough? Before you have a concrete trough made, you might want to find out about its downsides first. Common materials used for livestock troughs are concrete, polyethylene, fibreglass and steel, with concrete being the most common. 

For some people, concrete water troughs are too troublesome because they’re bulky, hard to clean and difficult to move around. For some, when they think “concrete”, they automatically think durable. While a concrete trough is indeed strong and can stabilise water temperatures, what else must you know about it that you didn’t know before?

See which ones you’re already familiar with in our list:

1. Concrete troughs are extremely hard to clean and maintain as they deteriorate.

Some common causes of deterioration:

  • Cattle licking
  • Cattle saliva
  • Enzymes present in the feed
  • Mechanical cleaning
  • Water hardness
  • Chemical reactions such as caused by limestone as well as concrete erosion by acidic water (more info below).

Concrete Troughs with Promblems

Lime imparts a bitter taste that cattle may not like. 

2. Concrete troughs develop leaks and cracks over time.

Concrete trough overflowing with water

These are difficult to notice and prevent even if you practiced utmost care during construction. More importantly, if your farm is already drought-stricken in the first place, these leaks can lead to litres of precious water lost.

Things that contribute to leaks and cracks:

  • Changes in water level
  • Changes in temperature, causing concrete to expand and contract.
  • Poor concrete quality in terms of strength, porosity and permeability
  • Hairline cracking due to incorrect placement or movement of the base that supports the concrete.
  • Soil erosion around the area of the trough may cause the trough to shift, resulting in leaks and cracks.

3. They are heavy and inconvenient.

Concrete troughs are not the easiest to move around especially when you incorporate them with rotational grazing. When moving concrete troughs to a different location, you need to rely on machines to lift them into place, a tedious process that could damage them. When cleaning, you have to roll them over to empty unless they have a drainage hole.

Old Concrete Troughs Can be Hard to Clean

Concrete troughs are difficult and heavy to move around. 

Related article:
Temporary vs Permanent Water Trough

4. Concrete can release excess lime.

Aggregates in new concrete may contain lime which is naturally alkaline. This can lead to high pH of the water inside your livestock troughs. In fact, lime is added to livestock water that’s too low on pH. However, an excess of lime may cause the water to be highly alkaline (pH too high). 

Although unlikely, water that’s too alkaline can have the following consequences on your livestock:

Related article:
Harmful Causes of Poor Livestock Performance (Water Troughs May Be Responsible)
Part 1

5. Acidic water can accelerate erosion of the concrete.

Acidic water causes concrete to erode, resulting in the exposure of the reinforcing mesh and the concrete aggregate. When this happens, sharp parts of the reinforcing mesh could jut out and put your livestock at risk to injury.


Damaged Concrete Tanks and Troughs

Exposed reinforcing mesh on concrete. 


Each factor mentioned above can develop in conjunction with or as a result of other factors.


For instance, incorrect placement of the concrete trough which results in the formation of leaks and cracks can be made worse by acidic water that erodes the concrete. Both erosion and cracks can enable water or moisture to penetrate deeper layers, eventually exposing the reinforcing mesh and risking your livestock to injury. 

Indeed, one thing can easily lead to another.

We hope this one contributes to you making an informed decision on whether concrete water troughs for cattle or livestock are the ones that are best suited for you!

Related article: 
The Worst Livestock Water Trough Advice We've Ever Heard

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