Draining in Wales

The last few months has seen a prolonged and unusually dry period of weather across much of the UK with just over 100mm of rain falling in the last 4 months in East Anglia – well below the long term averages.  This follows a somewhat turbulent rainfall pattern throughout the course of 2016 which saw June be the wettest month with over 200mm of rainfall in some parts of Norfolk and sunshine hours well down for the same period.

In spite of the dry weather this winter, there have continued to be a large number of wet fields which have been brought to our attention on account of old drainage systems failing and crops suffering at surface level as a result.  With commodity prices looking slightly healthier over the last few months too, there has been renewed interest and enthusiasm from many of our farming customers to look to ensure that their land is in premium condition – free from drainage issues.

The last few weeks has seen one of our drainage teams tackling a project in South Wales.  The farm had identified that they had a significant area of land across multiple fields which were under-performing on account of drainage issues. Our design team spent some time surveying the farm this winter preparing proposals for remedying the drainage problems present.  The work involved studying existing drainage plans and undertaking a detailed topographical survey of the fields in question to form a balanced and precise view of what was required.

Existing drainage plan.

The installation of the drains started a few weeks ago and showed dramatic and instantaneous results with surface water being removed through our new network of land drains.  The drains were all installed through growing crops of wheat and oilseed rape which were under severe stress on account of the volume of water present.

Much of our work through the spring time period is done in amongst the growing crop as farmers look to sort out drainage problems.  This method causes minimal damage to the growing crop on account of the ultra-light footprint our tracked equipment leaves through the wet soil structures.  The installation of the new land drains provides an immediate benefit to the existing growing crop which is left behind and importantly, it readies the field for the autumn when a fresh crop is planted.  This allows the farm operations to proceed smoothly in the summer with cultivations and drilling following immediately after harvest.