Farm Pond Management

Observation of farm pond is the key to keeping your water sources in top health.

| July/August 2009

SIDEBAR:
Fish Stocking in Farm Ponds 

As a boy growing up on a remote 160-acre farm in southeast Kansas, my interaction with wildlife and livestock provided countless opportunities to learn life lessons. I learned to value others’ property while getting scolded for running cattle on horseback; the harm of wastefulness while cleaning quail; and, with my two older brothers, I learned the value of feeding myself by fishing our farm pond and bringing a mess of fish home to Mom and Dad.

Really, most of my interactions with nature and animals occurred in two locations: the “motherland,” a secluded area where we rode horses; and the family farm pond located about a quarter mile east of our house. It was our playground, our escape and our canvas for testing our aptitude in the outdoors.

That pond remains a special place to me, and I still hold on to mental images of fishing with my big brothers, roughhousing on the banks, and the sun falling in a big Kansas sky.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that around 50,000 ponds are constructed annually in the United States, an average of 1,000 ponds in each state. That’s a strikingly large number of ponds, many of which were created to replace ponds that failed due to mismanagement.



Farm ponds can be many things to different people. In this part of the country, the majority are used to water livestock. Other uses include agricultural irrigation, nutrient cycling for the ecosystem, wildlife and fish production, recreational and educational opportunities, and simple aesthetic beauty, which adds value to property.

And, in a time when the economy is weak and farm finances can be tough, optimizing what we already have is as important as it’s ever been in my lifetime. How to use what we already have seems way more important than seeking new investments. When it comes to the farm pond, you can optimize its uses in different ways depending on your needs, and a few overarching tactics will serve all uses. 

RANDYW
7/13/2015 11:21:51 AM

Grass carp do not eat filamentous algae.


Jerry
8/6/2014 2:34:14 PM

Susan, if you can find some Tilapia to stock your pond with, they will eat every bit of duckweed you have. But, in winter they will die since they are a tropical fish. Maybe you bring a few in the house for pets, they breed like crazy. Then restock the pond again the following summer. I use them in my aquaponics garden and they work great. Look them up on the web. Good luck.


Susan
7/28/2014 3:29:37 PM

Hi-Have a pond in upstate NY that was excavated 30 years ago. We stocked with bass and it has everything from newts and frogs to turtles and fish but last few years we've been overrun with duckweed- don't want to use chemicals so early in the season I skim as much as I can with a pond skimmer and then when it gets hot it takes over - any suggestions on how to controll it? We considered ducks ? Would that work and how to keep them safe from coyotes and foxes and fishers?







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