Wet Autumn underlining the benefits of Land Drainage

by William Morfoot

Autumn 2019 has been a tough affair across the UK. It has featured stuck machinery, horrific harvesting conditions for potatoes, veg and cereals, along with an eternal waiting game for the weather to simply to be dry enough for equipment to be allowed into the fields.

It’s been costly too. Operations have been far slower than normal – even when soils have been good enough to allow machinery to travel. Plenty of backup has needed to be on hand to pull out stuck machinery when it sinks and the soil damage in some cases has been immense. It’s also been costly in terms of stress levels of growers. At a time when political uncertainty exists over Brexit and future commodity prices are volatile on the back of Westminster led discussions, the weather this autumn has created unwanted further worries for many.

One thing that has come firmly to the top of the pile again in recent weeks has been the role that land drainage can play in helping farms to become operational again once the rain stops. Land Drainage is a wide ranging area – encompassing watercourse/ditch management on both a private ‘on farm’ level and also with regard to other third parties such as Internal Drainage Boards and the Environment Agency. It also covers the all important area of physical in field drainage pipes which transfer surplus water away from wet areas of land into the water courses as needed.

In a normal year, land drainage unquestionably adds value with growers typically reporting a 25-35% uplift in yield on comprehensively drained land. It allows for huge efficiencies in arable

operations and greater crop uniformity it the way that crops grow and ripen within fields. And – it reduces stress as far as the decision makers are concerned who are responsible for farming the land.

However, in a season like the one we are currently experiencing, land drainage provides a whole new level of value. It is the difference between being able to physically travel on a field or not. It is the difference between being able to drill a crop of winter wheat or not. And it may even make the difference of being able to harvest a field of potatoes or not. When these thoughts are put in the mix, the potential financial value that it provides is even greater this year and many farmers have commented that in a season like this one, land drainage investment can quickly pay for itself overnight.

We value the technical expertise that the Croptec Show provides and the chance to interact with existing and new clients from around the UK. If you have got problematic wet land that you feel could benefit from some investment in land drainage – be that in terms of ditch and watercourse management or physical land drainage work in your arable land itself, we can help. Please come along to our stand in the main hall where our team of experts will be able to offer specialist advice on the way we deliver our land drainage projects and how our schemes can help to add value – and profit to your business.