Drainage solutions - Our machinery expert looks at the latest piping and aeration drainage technology
Most farmers face a frustratingly long wait for ground to dry out at this time of year. The wait begs the obvious question: what options do farmers have to improve drainage and aeration on ground that seems to take an age to dry out?
Assessing and upgrading the drainage system is the definitive answer - but also usually the most expensive one. A properly installed drainage system should last 40-50 years. The key tip from every land drainage expert I talk to is to get the fall in the drain right.
This is crucial for water flow over the lifetime of the drain and should be calculated professionally using laser levels. The fall grade can range from 1pc to 25pc (a 1pc gradient would be the equivalent of a fall of 1cm per metre, while a 10pc gradient would give a fall of 10cm per metre).
What is the approximate cost of installing a modern drainage system?
According to Connacht Agri the cost of their New Choice drainage pipe is €2.84 plus VAT per metre but deals can be done if buying large quantities.
The New Choice pipes are 90pc porous and are wrapped in a polypropylene sleeve (the white part) designed to allow water in at high rates.
They are being used a lot in the west and have good reports thus far. Trenching and backfilling cost €1.50-€2.00 per metre depending on drain depth. At €2 per metre, for example, this takes the total cost of the job including the pipe cost to €4.84 plus VAT/metre.
Those looking at cheaper or shorter term options have some grassland management and machinery-based solutions available to them.