Wood-Burner Keeps Trough Ice-Free

Hauling water to the cow herd in winter is standard practice for Tony Smude. To keep it from freezing in minus 20-degree weather, he developed his own unique device based on a South Dakota farmer’s idea.


   Smude’s trough was originally a heavy-duty steel boiler he bought from the mines and cut in half.


   To keep the water from freezing without a traditional source of energy, he designed a metal wood-burning stove to place inside his trough.


   “I started with a 4 by 8-ft. sheet of 1/4-in. steel, sheared it down to 4 by 7, and then cut that piece in half,” says Smude. “I bent the two 2 by 7-ft. pieces lengthwise into a 90-degree angle and welded them together to make a 12-in. square hollow tube.”


   At the tube’s 4-ft. mark, he cut it at 22 1/2 degrees, turned the pieces 180 degrees, and welded everything together. He used a 5-in., 11-gauge pipe for the chimney. From the leftover 1 by 4-ft. metal, he cut 12 in. for the wood access door, 12 in. for the end, and bent the remaining 24-in. piece for a chimney cap.


   “I had to fasten it down as it floats like a boat when you fill the trough,” Smude says. “I fill it from the neck that comes up out of the water with about a wheelbarrow full of wood which burns for 5 or 6 hours. As it burns, the wood slides down into the bottom to keep the fire going.”


   He uses pine as it creates less ash. On a 20-degree below zero day, it takes about 2 hrs. to heat the water to 60 degrees F, just right for the cows to drink.


   “The cows usually drink it down to the top of the stove every day, so when I’m out there, I just refill it, light it, and it’s good for another day.”


   Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tony Smude, Brainerd, Minn. 56401 (ph 218-764-2091).