Five Buckles



Scott Ressler
Environmental Services Director


This month, let’s visit about holding ponds and water- spreading systems. 
Most producers would prefer a water-spreading system over a holding pond; however, many feedlot locations aren’t conducive for constructing a water-spreading system. Often, that’s due to acreage limitations and a lack of natural slope away from the feedlot. When constructing a water- spreading system, the requirement ratio is one acre of spreader system to every acre of feedlot. With a holding pond, the dirt that is removed is often enough needed for the construction of the feed lane and dikes and, therefore, there is no need to identify a borrow area. With a water-spreading system, fill dirt for the feed lane and dikes must come from another source, which often makes the water-spreading system the more expensive option.
The optimal design for holding ponds is one that is shallow, with as much exposed surface area as possible for increased chances of evaporation. The soil in the holding pond must be a specific type and meet compaction requirements. If the material doesn’t meet those standards, an alternate source will need to be identified and, thus, will add to the cost of the project.
In most cases, both systems separate out the solids before they enter the system. There are management considerations for both. A holding pond system may need to be pumped out if the feedlot has received an excessive amount of rainfall and a water-spreading system will need close attention, so farming practices do not compromise its integrity. 
As per permit requirements, both management systems need to be constructed to contain a 25-year, 24-hour rainfall event and include a minimum 280-day storage. This often means a large ring dike is needed on the bottom of the spreading system.
As with most feedlot elements, the decision comes down to producer preference, as both holding ponds and spreading systems satisfy permit requirements and have their plusses and minuses.
President Warren Zenker has been writing a column for a while now and is still having trouble with some words. Recently, he typed his column and a flash came across the screen. He had misspelled a word so badly that even autocorrect was confused!
North Dakota Stockmen's Association * 407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504 * 701-223-2522 *