Water is reused, reclaimed and recycled on MoDak Dairy, a 2,000-cow operation near Kranzburg, S.D.

“We wonder sometimes if we don’t wear out the water,” said Greg Moes, during an interview with SDSU Extension which can be found on the SDSUiGrow YouTube channel. When water is introduced to the system, it is first used to cool the milk from the cow at about 100 degrees down to about 50 degrees. The now-warmed water is then pumped into water tanks for cows’ drinking water.

“Cows prefer drinking warm water to cold water,” said Moes, a fourth-generation dairyman. Water that isn’t used as drinking water is pumped into the water heater and used for cleaning alleyways or the milking parlor.

While the cows are being milked, two, 600-gallon dump tanks periodically flush the floors. All waste water is then collected and helps flush manure and sand used for bedding out of the barn and into a holding tank where the sand and waste solids separate from each other.

The sand is separated to dry out and be reused, while the waste water and manure are stored until they are applied to crop fields following a strict manure management plan.

“Some think we just run out to the fields with a spreader and apply the manure. It’s not that way at all. Precision GPS technology is used to apply the manure,” Moes said.