Waterlogged soils are not the best for growers. However, there are a number of things that a grower can do to improve the soils. This includes creation of single furrows to help drain all the surface water, clearing drains and mole ploughing.
Some of the major causes of water logged soils are heavy rains and over tilling. The top soil is of full of water but the lower part down remains unsaturated.
According to Dick Godwin, a professor who works with Harper Adams Soil &Water Management Centre, the surface of the soil determines how fast surface water can be filtered naturally. In a recent workshop on soil management, Prof Godwin spoke about how water sits above while underneath remains dry. Many fields have reported saturation, but only the top soil because the lands have a layer that is almost impermeable and will not allow water to penetrate deep.
One of the main causes of logged soil is that the top soil pores are very small. This is due to over tilling and being run over all the time. So this leads to formation of something that acts like a water table. It becomes hard for the bare and tilled ground to absorb rain even though a permanent pasture can easily between 4 and 5 mm/hr of continuous rain.
According to Professor Godwin, most people no longer clean ditches and this causes ponds in fields where they are not needed. To get rid of water logging, blockages must be cleared and walk ditches cleared. Every land should have drainage plans and make sure they are functioning all the time. A groove can also help to take water away. A ditch or a furrow is dug to create the groove that will make sure water does not remain on the top soil. In extreme cases,
Professor Godwin says drilling holes is the way to go. It helps the surface water to go deep into the soil. But you must be ready to sacrifice small parts of your land to create a long term solution.
He goes on to say that some plants can cover the soil and help drain the water. You can use a quad-bike or just hands to broadcast seeds that will help dry the soil. Growers with clay soils should drain the soils using the mole ploughing as it helps remove surface water very fast. This is a medium term solution, but it does work.
For a long-term solution, apart from enhancing your field’s drainage system, you can install grass waterways and raise the levels of organic matter in the soil. Also, use tractors with low pressure tyres to avoid overrunning on the top soil. Professor Godwin is certain that controlled traffic on the fields can prevent compaction penalties. Areas that are non-trafficked have an infiltration of rain at about 400%. The wheels specifically cause huge compaction. Soil that has not been marked filters at 20mm/hr. and just a single pass reduces it to below 6mm/hr. and two passes lower it to under 2mm/hr.