The subject may have receded a little in farmers’ minds last summer but the past two months will have reminded us what needs to be done.
Drainage is expensive – typically €2,000 to €6,000 per hectare, plus another €600 for reseeding, if necessary – and unfortunately not all drainage work is successful. The subject is complex and there is less expertise available now than was the case a generation ago.
So, any farmer who needs to invest in drainage should inform him or herself as much as possible – hopefully these pages will help. Soils tend to be similar across a locality. Ask neighbours which drainage methods have worked well in the past and which ones haven’t. An experienced local drainage contractor should also have knowledge of the jobs that worked well. Any plant operator will put in a length of drain pipe to relieve a wet spot. However, putting in drains on a 10-acre field is a much more complex project – experience is required and worth paying for.
The Teagasc heavy soils programme will generate welcome information on the subject and it will be disseminated to advisers and discussion groups. See an update work on the farms here.
Meanwhile, the storms and rain have been disruptive, costly and even dangerous for farmers. We are hearing many reports of damage to sheds, farm houses, field fencing and plantations. In coastal areas where the storms were most violent, there has been serious field erosion and damage.
In this supplement, we present some practical advice on what to do if you suffer wind damage. Livestock sheds are a priority, so too are dangerous trees near the yard or a public road. Safety is paramount. Damage out in the fields can be tackled when conditions dry up. Any farmer who has to make a claim through an insurance company needs to be prepared to do plenty of paperwork and to push firmly for a fair outcome.
Full content of this week’s Focus supplement