Water Quality Issues in Your Farm Pond

If you use your farm pond for anything more than raising koi or handling stormwater, you need to test the water at least once a year. Ponds contaminated with certain bacteria, protozoa, or contaminants can become unsafe for swimming, irrigation, livestock watering, and more. If you’re watering high-value crops, you should test once a month to seasonally instead. You don’t want to gamble with part of your annual income just to save a few hundred dollars on professional lab testing.

Many local extension offices provide free or discounted water testing services for farm owners with ponds. You’ll need to keep an eye on bacteria, especially coliform varieties that come from human and animal waste. Don’t forget about dissolved mineral content either, which (along with pH) can have a surprising effect on crop plants. Finally, check for chemical contaminants from nearby fields sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, and other necessary treatments.

In addition to water quality issues caused by nearby fields or feedlots, your pond water may develop cloudiness or odors due to interior problems. Rotting leaves and wood falling from nearby trees can lead to high tannin levels and pH imbalances that affect irrigation quality. 

Algae growth is one of the most common and damaging quality issues common to farm ponds. Even though algae develops within a pond spontaneously, it’s usually caused by an external condition like nearby fertilizer application or the droppings of wild animals and livestock. Once you identify the specific algae types in your pond through water testing, you can apply the right algaecide to clear cloudy water before losing fish to a loss of oxygen.

Renovating a farm pond is a major task. By taking more time to design your pond properly before installation, you’ll save time and money for decades while enjoying a beautiful body of water. Settle your irrigation issues or create new livestock watering opportunities by building a new farm pond with what you’ve learned from this guide.

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