Land Drainage Season in Full Flow
As the inclement summer of 2017 continues, the fields are gradually getting cleared by the combines to make way for the start to the next growing season and on some farms, – the installation of a new land drainage scheme!
The post harvest window is always a busy period for getting improvement projects completed and 2017 is no exception. Since the combines started rolling in early July, our teams have been hard at work completing ditch restoration and improvement projects as well as installing new land drains to replace old and defunct drainage schemes which are no longer delivering their potential – having been installed originally many decades ago.
Unusually for this time of year, the drains we are installing are running almost instantaneously as surplus water spills out of the land we are working within and rushes towards the ditch systems. Weeks of above average rainfall have meant that soils are at field capacity and crops are all too frequently being submerged in water logged soils.
We’ve got a diverse array of projects that we have been asked to do this summer on ground ranging from rolling clay soils renowned for their wheat growing capabilities to ultra flat fenland soils perhaps better known for the specialist salads and vegetable crops they produce.
The common theme to all of this investment in land drainage which is happening in the countryside this summer is to improve soil structures. In addition, it makes for creating easy to manage fields which can form part of bigger agricultural block cropping systems. Perhaps most importantly, it provides better conditions in which to release the full potential of the soils and in turn delivers improved long term yields for the crops that grow within the land.
Yield data is now providing real time feedback on the return on investment in land drainage with many farms showing a comparatively short amount of payback time before the investment is paid off. With ongoing uncertainty within UK agriculture stemming from Brexit and fluctuating global commodity prices, the solid investment opportunity that is available from investing in soil structures through providing better land drainage systems is a route that many progressive growers seem keen to explore.