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Galvanised Steel Versus Plastic Water Troughs

Feb 13, 2020Blog0 comments

Any farmer knows the importance of having a durable water trough for their livestock. It ensures that your animals will have access to fresh drinking water all day, which is vital to their health and wellness. However, it can be difficult to choose between galvanised water troughs and plastic water troughs for your needs.

When you are looking for a water trough there are considerations to keep in mind. You will need to think about the durability of the water trough, especially if you have larger livestock, and you will also need to consider how easy the trough is to install. For smaller farms, a large and bulky water trough might not be ideal.

If you are not sure where to start, below we look at the pros and cons of both galvanised and plastic water troughs.

Galvanised Steel Water Trough

The Pros

  • No Platform Required: Many galvanised steel water troughs are manufactured with feet to support them, which means that you will not need to install a concrete base on your land. This will save space for your animals if you have a smaller livestock farm.
  • Movability: A steel water trough is easier to move than a plastic water trough as it is not placed permanently on a concrete base. If you need to move the water trough out of the sun during the peak hours of the day, a galvanised steel model is the better choice.
  • Toughness: Galvanised steel water troughs are ideal for livestock with horns and hooves, as they can withstand this type of force. Steel will not bend or buckle when cattle or even sheep push against it, making it a more durable choice.
  • Repairability: Many farmers will have their own welding equipment, making it easy to repair any damages that galvanised steel water troughs might experience. However, these repairs should only be undertaken by someone who has experience with the equipment.
  • Head Space: The longer, more narrow shape of these water troughs means that there is more headspace for the animals, making it easier for them to drink water if there is a crowd of livestock at the trough. This is ideal for animals with horns, such as cattle or goats.

  • The Cons

  • Cost: A steel water trough will likely cost you more than a plastic one, but this is because it has been specifically manufactured for the use of livestock farming. However, this cost can be prohibitive to smaller farmers.
  • Durability: While galvanised steel is highly sturdy, it can be affected by rust, making it not as durable as you might have first thought. It will need to be cleaned regularly and treated for rust before it can become an issue.
  • Shape: These water troughs are somewhat limited in shape, as they do not have many bends or other shape options available. This could be detrimental if you have many animals that need to drink at once.
  • Capacity: Many galvanised steel water troughs do not hold as much water as plastic models. This is because they are long and narrow rather than being short and deep, meaning they cannot hold as much water.

  • Plastic Water Trough

    The Pros

  • Cost: Plastic water troughs are generally less expensive than their galvanised steel counterparts, which makes them perfect for smaller farms or for bulk buying. A less expensive option does not always mean it has lower quality.
  • Shape: Being made from plastic allows these water troughs a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to their shape. Manufacturers can choose whatever shape their clients need, which makes them popular with farmers who have different types of livestock.
  • Temperature Control: Plastic is much less conductive of heat than steel or other metals, which means that these water troughs will keep the water cooler for longer, allowing your animals to drink fresh, cool water on the hottest of days.
  • Capacity: Due to their short, deep shape, plastic water troughs are able to hold a larger volume of water. However, the depth can mean that your animals may not reach the bottom and this water could become dirty or mouldy.

  • The Cons

  • Platform Required: Plastic water troughs require a platform in order to be used, which means that they cannot easily be moved around your property. This can be detrimental if you need to move the trough into shade during the heat of the day.
  • Durability: While a plastic water trough might offer versatility in its shape, its durability is not as impressive. Plastic can become brittle in the sun if it is left out for too long, and it is not likely to last very long if used by animals with horns and hooves.
  • >Head Space: These water troughs do not have as much headspace for your livestock. This can make drinking time difficult for large animals or large numbers of animals so be sure to keep this in mind when buying your water troughs.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning a plastic water trough can be difficult thanks to its shape, as it is deep and the sides can be slippery. Look for effective cleaning methods and chemicals to ensure your animals have access to clean and fresh water.

  • Conclusion

    Choosing between galvanised and plastic water troughs can be difficult, but if you weight up the pros and cons of each you will be able to find one to fit your needs. For more information on how we can help you make the right decision, speak to Van Schoor Gate today.