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 20 Reasons for Drainage

1. Higher Yields and Improved Crop Quality- Yields from over 125 drainage experiments produced the following estimated increase in yield attributed to sub-surface drainage: corn-34% Alfalfa-42% Soybeans-29% Wheat-76% BEEF-35% MILK-30%

2. Faster Soil Warm-up- Drained fields have the advantage of 5 to15 degrees warmer soil temperature. wet soil is cold soil. Surface evaporation, which has a cooling effect, is reduced. How would you like to sit in cold water all spring?

3. Less Compaction- By drying out faster and not working the ground wet you have much less chance of creating a compaction problem. Many yield problems can be traced back to compaction problems. If you deep-till a drained field, the chances are better it will stay uncompacted much better than non-drained fields.

4. Larger, Deeper Roots- By lowering the water table in the spring the roots continue to go down seeking moisture. Draining creates air and water channels to encourage better root growth and soil penetration. By this means, the quantity of nutrients extractable by the plants is maintained at a higher level.

5. Better soil aeration- Drained soil can percolate better, allowing water and air to reach the roots. The channels created from water and air moving down through the soil to the drain let it breath. Roots are just like humans, they need to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Can you relate to how much better you feel every time you get rid of a congested chest. Draining is the decongestant for your soil.

6. More favourable environment for beneficial soil micro-organisms and earthworms- By opening the soil to breath all small micro-organisms and earthworms can now thrive. These aerobic organisms are what help make nitrogen and sulphur more available.

7. Less yield variation for more dependable cash flow- In a university study yields varied 46% on undrained soil versus 18% on drained soil. Best of all, yields were consistently high.

8. Allows more days of machinery operation- With faster dry up and warmer soils you can get in the fields earlier in the Spring for planting and perform Autumn operations later in the year when cool temperatures slow down soil drying. Dry soils allow more timely post emergence applications and limit compaction.

9. Allows earlier planting- Longer Growing Season allows you to plant earlier for higher yields. You can now pick the optimum variety for early plantings and high yields. In some years this alone can mean a phenomenal amount of difference in yield.

10. Better soil structure- Promotes much better soil drainage since you aren’t working soil when it is wet.

Draining also increases soil granulation to allow better water and air interaction with the roots. The soil becomes more porous allowing the water to stay where it lands instead of running off.

11. Increases yields in dry years- Deeper root development enables plants to better withstand summer droughts. Roots usually penetrate to within 15 inches of the water table. High water tables in the Spring due to poor drainage cause shallow root development and a smaller soil volume from which plants can obtain moisture and nutrients. Since drained crops are planted earlier and grow quicker they can mature before late Summer stress sets in. (The early bird catches the worm and early season moisture!)

12. Lowers Nitrogen Losses- More Nitrogen caused by water-logged soils and the better activity of the aerobic organism. Draining dries the soil to create the perfect environment for nitrogen utilisation and aerobic organisms to thrive. How much did you spend on nitrogen this year! I bet it’s not pocket change, you well know that Nitrogen is one of the most expensive inputs.

13. Consistent Seed Stands- This can make or break you! Better stands can be achieved by less rotting of seeds before germination. Perfect stands are much more likely when drained soil is 10 degrees warmer and the soil is dry and not mud. You can’t get top yields if you don’t have the plants there to begin with. Getting a good even stand is probably the most important ingredient to a high yield.

14. Removes Toxins- Certain toxic substances and disease organisms are removed from the soil due to better drainage and aeration. Specifically it lowers iron and manganese toxicity levels when air can reach these elements. Draining is just like getting rid of a cold!

15. Less Erosion-Soil erosion is reduced by increasing the capacity to hold rainfall and let it percolate through the soil instead of running off. Less erosion allows the fertility levels and soil structure that you have built for years to stay intact.

16. One-Time Expense- A one-time cost that pays back year after year with no further investment. Seed, fertilizers and chemicals cost you a bundle every year, machinery breaks down and needs replacing. Drainage rakes in profit and higher yields for the rest of your life. Drainage is the “energizer bunny” of farm investments, it keeps going, and going, and going…

17.The profit is at the top end- It costs virtually the same to farm a 120 acres of wet land as it does to farm 120 acres of dry land. As they say, “Good farmers farm good ground.” Draining turns farms into “good ground.”

18. Lower Drying Costs- Drained crops grow and mature faster and up to 6 points drier in the Autumn.

19. Lower machinery Costs- with machinery costs at their highest ever! It is nice to know that drained land

Allows more to be done with less equipment & farm it when the conditions are right.

20. More kgs per acre

Output of kgs per acre are increased by 30-40% on average in drained grassland with no rushes or scrub etc