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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Default Draining horse pasture.

    I've just been offered another three acres of pastue land to lease. It's a great deal and I've been looking for more land. Most of it is on a slope, so drains well. The last half acre is at the bottom of the slope and is very wet. Farmer is going to lower the lease if I do something about drainage.

    That brings me to my question- what is the best way to drain horse pasture? I believe that this section has a big drainage ditch along one side of it, and I'm willing to bet that it's blocked somewhere. If I clear that, and still need to improve the drainage, what else can I do?

    I can get a tractor/digger/etc into the pasture. It won't be easy, but it could be done.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
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    Default

    I was at a barn for a while that dug a pond into one of the fields to help with drainage. They kept the bottom covered in gravel so we could ride in it (though they kept either electric or snow fencing around it while the horses were turned out there). It's one of the least expensive options if it works for your space.



  3. #3
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Do you know how they did that? It would be an option here I think.
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  4. #4
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    Mar. 11, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kookicat View Post
    what is the best way to drain horse pasture? I believe that this section has a big drainage ditch along one side of it, and I'm willing to bet that it's blocked somewhere. If I clear that, and still need to improve the drainage, what else can I do?
    Farms use something called "drain tiles" to improve drainage in wet areas. This might work for you since you have a ditch to divert the water into. You have to dig trenches so that they will run into the ditch, layer them with gravel, then install the drain tiles (which are heavy PVC pipes with holes), top with gravel and then sand, follow with your top soil. The ditches should be graded slightly to run into the main ditch. The drain tiles should be available at your local ag supply. This advice was given to us by a farmer to help with one of our wet pastures. We haven't done it yet but plan to in the spring when the ground dries up some.



  5. #5
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    Sep. 5, 2005
    Location
    Mass.
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    If you were in the US, I'd say you couldn't do a thing about it because it would be designated as a "wetland" and the Environmental folks would forbid you to touch it. I guess England doesn't have such rabid land laws.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry



  6. #6
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guin View Post
    If you were in the US, I'd say you couldn't do a thing about it because it would be designated as a "wetland" and the Environmental folks would forbid you to touch it. I guess England doesn't have such rabid land laws.
    We have some silly land laws. I will check that this pasture can be drained, but I'm thinking that it's farmland and they won't have any problem with it. Not really a wetland, just a low spot where the water drains too- if it was marsh/swamp, I'd leave well alone.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2007
    Posts
    250

    Default

    I also recommend putting down drain tiles -- the difference is amazing. There are companies that specialize in just this -- you might want to check with your extension agent. For small jobs, most excavators could probably help you.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2006
    Location
    SE Coastal NC
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    Ditto on the drain tiles. Not expensive to put down and will make a huge difference in the drainage around there
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

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  9. #9
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    England
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
    Ditto on the drain tiles. Not expensive to put down and will make a huge difference in the drainage around there
    Thanks everyone for the recomendation. I'll talk to farmer about them. I need to check the big ditch first though.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Default

    If it's clay soil, add lime.

    You can also amend the soil by adding sand (you'd till it and add sand).

    You can also cut a gentle swale to gather and channel water away. Swales are easy, very livestock friendly, and inexpensive. If it's just a small area, 3 acres, the swale could be completed in a few minutes with the right equipment, a few hours with the wrong equipment. You might be able to do a decent job with something like a box blade set at an angle, a grader set at an angle, or even using the bucket on the tractor. The bucket might be a bit awkward or too messy, though.

    I don't know if box blades and graders are called by those names in England. If you don't know what I'm referring to - I can google some pictures and link to them.



  11. #11
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Deep South
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    I think I'd check what you're "allowed" to do first !



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    I think I'd check what you're "allowed" to do first !
    Yep. I won't be digging/adding anything until I get the go ahead.

    I am going to ride over tomorrow and check out the state of the big ditch.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSwan View Post
    If it's clay soil, add lime.

    You can also amend the soil by adding sand (you'd till it and add sand).

    You can also cut a gentle swale to gather and channel water away. Swales are easy, very livestock friendly, and inexpensive. If it's just a small area, 3 acres, the swale could be completed in a few minutes with the right equipment, a few hours with the wrong equipment. You might be able to do a decent job with something like a box blade set at an angle, a grader set at an angle, or even using the bucket on the tractor. The bucket might be a bit awkward or too messy, though.

    I don't know if box blades and graders are called by those names in England. If you don't know what I'm referring to - I can google some pictures and link to them.
    Thanks. The swale idea is interesting. It's not even three acres- maybe one and a bit. Might be a good starting point.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Default

    Since you're in the UK I don't want to give you too much US based information since our laws and regs might be very different.

    But in case you'd like to read up on vegetative buffers and other methods of controlling water, here are some links that you can visit to learn more. Kind of a cross section of "stuff" you can find on the web.

    I once saw a video of a swale cutter out in the midwest somewhere. Boy oh boy was that cool. This giant machine cutting a swale - it was like a Monster Truck rally. Mud everywhere and big tires!

    Anyway - you don't need anything so fancy and you may even come up with a solution that is unique to your situation and is in keeping with your laws and regs. Good luck.

    http://www.hobartcity.com.au/hccwr/_...%20buffers.pdf

    http://www.stormwatercenter.net/Asso...%20Channel.htm

    http://www.cabmphandbooks.com/Docume...ment/TC-30.pdf
    this one has a good picture on the front

    http://www.oaklandpw.com/Asset512.aspx


    You can use swales to direct stormwater as well as drain low lying areas. It doesn't have to be as fancy as the designs I've linked to. Again - as long as all this is legal where you are you could do something like this.

    (I live in a low lying flood prone area.)

    Good luck!



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