A farm pond is used for irrigation, livestock feed, aquaculture, fire protection, erosion control, or recreational purposes. Here’s why (and how) you should build a farm pond on your property.
Why You Should Build a Farm Pond
Farm Ponds Provide Irrigation
Perhaps the most obvious reason to build a pond is for irrigation. Ponds can capture, store, and distribute water for a variety of agricultural purposes. They irrigate crops, support aquaculture, or provide water for livestock. Naturally replenished by precipitation, farm ponds can also provide a more cost effective and sustainable alternative to city or county provided water. One calculation found that one 2-acre pond could irrigate 30-acres of crops.
Though frequently used to water crops, farm ponds are also water animals. Aquaculture such as fish, shellfish, aquatic plants, or algae can grow in the pond itself. For non-aquatic animals, pump pond water into troughs to water your cattle. Cows and horses require up to 12-15 gallons each day!
Farm Ponds Provide Protection
Farm ponds also protect against the elements in the form of frost, fire, or erosion control. Particularly important in vineyards, farm ponds can protect grapevines during the winter by forming a thin layer of ice (via irrigation) that can protect fragile plants against frost. Similarly, for areas prone to forest fires, farm ponds can provide a water barrier that will keep flames at bay. Not to mention, in especially rural areas, fire departments can draw from these ponds in the absence of fire hydrants.
Farm Ponds Provide Recreation
Not just for functional use, farm ponds can be great for recreational use as well. Avid fishers can stock their ponds with largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other varietals for endless days spent fishing out on the lake. Water features also add aesthetic appeal to your backyard. Whether you are out in a boat or are sitting on a dock, farm ponds can provide an idyllic setting for summer BBQs, outdoor picnics, or even swimming.
How to Build a Farm Pond
Building a farm pond isn’t quite as simple as digging a hole in your backyard. Depending on the size of your pond, more likely than not, you’ll require permits, inspectors, and engineers to get the job done. Here are a few tips we have should you decide to build your pond:
1. Plan Your Pond
If you have pre-existing water on your land, you’ll need to check with any regulating authorities before attempting to alter them. Contact the EPA and your state to be sure your water isn’t currently regulated. If you don’t yet have water on your land, you’ll need to contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) service center to find out what regulations may need to be met and what permits are required before you complete your project.
From there, you will be able to decide where to build your pond, how big you’d like it to be, and how deep you’d like it to be. Keep in mind that choosing a location that naturally slopes downward will be easier to dig. Ask the NRCS for a complimentary consultation to learn more about rainfall, soil composition, dam construction and how all of the above can contribute to a successful farm pond environment.
2. Dig Your Pond
Planning is the most difficult part of the process. It involves drawing up a map of the property, determining the exact dimensions and depths of the pond, and building dams that can hold the water in place. Once all of this has been confirmed, use farming equipment to dig your pond and then install pond liners to keep the bottom water tight.
3. Fill Your Pond
From there, you’ll be able to fill your pond with plants, algae, aquatic animals, and water to create a microclimate. This will support your farm by providing irrigation, livestock feed, aquaculture, fire protection, erosion control, and recreational benefits.
BTL Liners provides reinforced polyethylene pond liners that are made from potable grade materials that will keep your water, plants, and animals safe. Contact us to learn more about using BTL Liners to build your farm pond.