If you’re unsure whether your land drainage system is fully working, here’s a useful guide to help you understand what you need to look for.
How to check?
The best time to check is just after a heavy rain downfall. Here’s what you need to look for:
- The drains are running freely.
- They dry up within 72 hours after the rain.
- The outlets are still trickling water 72 hours after the rain – this could suggest that the rainwater is struggling to make its way to the drains.
- The drains do not release any water – this could be as a result of a blockage.
Example of a land drainage outfall flowing freely after a storm is shown in the video below.
Why are land drainage systems failing?
We are seeing more and more land drainage systems fail simply due to age. The installation of clay piping systems was popular over 30 years ago when government grants were available for land drainage. In the 1980s these grants were retracted leading to fewer farmers choosing to invest in them.
30 years on and unsurprisingly these systems are now causing problems. They have either become clogged with silt, which cannot be flushed out, or they have become subsoiled through as they were often only laid 600mm deep. Consequently, many farms are still reliant on them, resulting in reduced yields and lowered crop performance.
What to do next?
Having an efficient land drainage system can make the difference between a good and bad crop so it’s essential you repair or replace it. The ideal time to undertake this work is straight after harvest when your fields are bare.
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