Local farmer uses meeco turnkey solution to feed his cattle
In August 2014, The meeco Group, through its subsidiary meeco América Latina, has completed the installation of a sun2flow solar water pumping system, including 17 sun2flows for a large cattle ranch known as Ganadera Madrejon situated in the north of Paraguay close to the Defensores del Chaco National Park. This project has been initiated back in November 2013 but has been delayed due to extreme climatic conditions: a long drought was followed by extreme rain falls leading inevitably to the flooding of large areas in the country.
Due to its remote location, the ranch does not have access to the national power grid making the use of autonomous energy generation systems (so called island solutions) a necessity to run the ranch. The sun2flow turnkey solutions of The meeco Group are perfectly designed to meet the needs and the requirements of the ranch by providing solar powered water pumping which – in the long run – can drastically reduce costs and efforts to distribute drinking water and thus, increase profitability of cattle and meat production.
|Read more about the Ganadera Madrejon project…|
Through this interview, we will discover how The meeco Group, through its local subsidiary in Paraguay, has changed the daily life of people locally. This will enable us to get an insight into the transitions that were made possible thanks to the sun2flow turnkey solutions, as well as understand how ranchers managed the start-up phase of this new technology.
Dr. Kurt Sätzler, the CEO (Director Titular Presidente) of the Ganadera Madrejon Sociedad Anonima has agreed to answer some questions about the sun2flow water pumping systems installed at its facility. Since the end of 2009, he has been in charge of the organisation, the overseeing and the direction of all the processes within the ranch.
|Discover The meeco Group local subsidiary in Paraguay…|
• Could you please describe a usual day of work before the installation of the sun2flow water pumping system?
We have a distributed net of water pipes connecting watering ponds and reservoirs spread over a large area, which are refilled using seasonal rainfalls. The water reservoirs provide the water by gravity to each watering trough supplying herds of 200-300 head of cattle each. Before installing sun2flow, we had been working with a mix of technologies to pump water between or from the ponds to the reservoirs. We used mechanical wind-driven pumps, which would not work reliably if larger quantities of water where required. Furthermore, we have been using electrical pumps connected to diesel-driven generators, mechanical pumps attached to the power-take-off of tractors for larger and sustained water pumping or smaller diesel pumps for providing the daily supplies of the various sectors within the ranch. We would have had to check on, almost on a daily basis, each pump in use as well as the diesel supply for each of them making sure that all generators and motors are maintained regularly. This can be quite an undertaking when running more than 10 installations that supply water to 30 or 40 cattle herds at the same time, which can be up to 14 km or more apart. As numbers of cattle grow slowly but surely, this gets even worse.
• Could you describe a usual day of work after the installation of the sun2flow turnkey solution? What kind of issues were you encountering at work before the installation? What was the most challenging?
After introducing sun2flow to replace smaller diesel pumps for the daily provision of water to our cattle, we could drastically reduce the time spent on the maintenance and revision of each pump and rather spend the time saved to monitor the cattle, to pay attention to watering holes and our extensive network of water pipes.
Most challenging problems and time-consuming steps were the maintenance and revision of water pumps. As cattle use a lot of water per head and day, especially in this dry and hot conditions found in the Paraguayan Chaco, it is absolutely important that the equipment runs reliably. In this climate, being several days without any water supplies could cost the lives of hundreds of animals. Using diesel pumps therefore requires regular maintenance intervals to sustain water supplies, which can be a very time-consuming step in systems such as ours where water reservoirs are spread out over a larger area. The remote location, the unpredictability of the weather and the resulting complications to access the ranch make reliability even more an issue.
• Did the installation solve these problems? How exactly?
By using sun2flow we could save precious time on the maintenance and revision of individual pumps installed at each water hole. Given that sun2flow delivers more water on sunny days, when consumption is highest, makes it the perfect solution for this kind of problem.
We have freed up resources of our technicians maintaining the water supply system, which means we are running the ranch more efficiently. On the long run, we also expect to save on running costs mostly by saving diesel, but also in equipment costs by choosing almost maintenance free pumps.
• Do you use the sun2flow solution only for the ranch work or is it also used to supply water to local people?
We are in a very remote area with no settlement nearby so the sun2flow system is exclusively being used for our cattle in the ranch. Water supplies in regular households at the ranch are not dependent on the water pumping system. For them, we use rainwater collected in underground cisterns, which are always readily accessible.
• Would you recommend the sun2flow turnkey solution of The meeco Group?
As water supply systems are very critical to cattle ranches, a focus on good quality materials and components as well as the right choice and combination of solar panels and controllers directly driving pumps is crucial for a reliably working system. sun2flow solar pumping systems for water supplies are ideal as they provide energy in time when most needed and don’t require a much more expensive installation that uses battery banks to store energy. A rather small water reservoir covering the weekly demand is sufficient to compensate for variations in supply and demand depending on temperature and overall weather conditions and cloud coverage. The meeco Group is offering such a turnkey solution meeting above-mentioned requirements with sun2flow. I would therefore recommend sun2flow to my fellow co-ranchers.
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