The Frostfree Nosepump™ developed by Rimbey-area
farmers Jim and Jackie Anderson uses basically the same pumping
mechanism that regular hand pumps use, but it incorporates the necessary
heat to help prevent freezing to ensure access to water all year long.
The pump employs a downhole piston, similar to the
familiar hand pump seen in farm yards a generation or more ago, to draw
water to the surface. The pumps are installed on a platform on the top
of a culvert, which is sunk vertically in the ground. The vertical
culvert can be installed near a dugout or other surface water source, or
it can be placed to tap into an underground water supply. The frost free
pump can also be installed over an existing cased well.
The culvert is usually at least 60 centimetres in
diameter, and installed at least seven metres below ground to take it
below the frost line and utilize available geothermal heat to help
prevent freezing. A cement pad poured in the ground around the culverts
top, along with insulation installed under the cement pad and inside the
culverts top two metres, help retain warmth and prevent freezing.
The pump is activated when a cow pushes with its nose
on a small pressure pad installed in a trough at the top of the culvert.
The pad is connected to the pump piston, and each push brings up about
half a litre into the drinking trough. The design helps prevent pumped
water from washing back into the well, and a hood over the trough
prevents birds from fouling the water. Since the cattle control the
pump, they will only drink as much as they need.
The frost free pump depends on making sure the cows
learn how to use the pressure pad, but inventor Jim Anderson provides
training hints on the company website. Besides advocating using a small
number of animals for the initial learning process, and drinking
exclusively from the pump, Anderson also counsels patience for farmers
trying to introduce the new system to their cattle. The initial animals
will teach the remainder of the herd to drink.
The Frostfree Nosepump is being used by farmers
across Western Canada, and the testimonials include praise it for its
ease of operation and the ability to keep water sources clean.
The Frostfree Nosepump was awarded the "Farmer
Innovation or Invention Award" at the 2002 Alberta's Farm Classic
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