26 February 2015 | Online since 2003



7 February 2014|News

Agricultural engineers call for renewed focus into soil and water drainage


The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) calls for renewed focus into soil and water drainage.

Commenting on the recent appalling weather and devastation to farmlands Alastair Taylor IAgrE CEO said: “The current extreme weather is definitely bringing into emphasis how the nation has neglected land drainage and flood mitigation work. This brings into focus the role of agricultural engineers, specialising in soil and water engineering, in preventing, or at least minimising the impact of any future weather event.”

The country’s inability to cope could be demonstrated by the fact that a number of land drainage systems, mostly installed in the 60s and 70s, are ill equipped to deal with the heavy rainfall, with silting and damaged existing pipe work being common problems. Mike Hann, drainage consultant, Chartered Engineer and IAgrE Fellow comments that mole drainage, very commonly practised in heavy soil regions, often has a life-span of less than 30 – 40 years rendering the soils liable to much greater levels of run-off contributing to flooding.

Farmers are discovering first hand why they need to invest in improvements to their land drainage and many are beginning to factor drainage operations into their annual timetable.

IAgrE Fellow and Chartered Environmentalist Jane Rickson who is a soil science specialist added: “Flooding not only occurs when water tables are high; a lot of the flooding is due to soil condition (and not just saturated soil profiles). Infiltration of rainwater into the soil is severely limited by loss of soil structure due to compaction. The use of increasingly larger and heavier machinery causing soil surface smearing, especially on wet soils. High animal stock densities, over working the soil, losses of organic matter, soil biology and so on all add to the problem.

You often find the soil is relatively dry over a spade-depth down because water cannot infiltrate – it was certainly the case during the floods around Tewkesbury a few years ago. Without soil and water storage, flooding risk is increased.”

Many drainage schemes are poorly maintained (sometimes deliberately so for ecological restoration, other times due to lack of investment/financial support). The concern is that draining land or dredging of channels will simply send the flood water somewhere else, possibly at a faster rate, so peak floods might be even higher in downstream areas … possibly urban areas with higher population densities.

Summing up Alastair Taylor said: “It is important that lessons are learnt from this current crisis. We need more agricultural engineers with an understanding of soil and water engineering. Environmental courses and training programmes need to include more focus on this vital subject. We need environmentalist to have a better understanding of the agricultural engineering solutions to this significant challenge.”

Mike Hann adds, “Improved soil management results in improved soil/water storage which will lower the risk of flash-floods, especially downstream.”

Download



Comments


09-02-2014 21:37 PM | Posted by: Caroline
Perhaps a Soil Conservation Act is called for ? Also is it time to consider crop insurance USDA style ?

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


6 February 2015
ERP / Software & Systems – Area Sales Consultant
Our client is the UK market leader in the supply of Integrated Dealer Management Systems for Agriculture, Horticulture, Groun...

19 February 2015
Senior Geologist - Subsalt Expert
Location: North America Job ID: HQ00011500 Job Type: Permanent Date Added: 02/19/15 The Senior Exploration Geologist is a sea...

25 February 2015
3rd Line Infrastructure Engineer
Experience of load balanced web farms. My client are a Global IT and Defence Organisation....

12 February 2015
Adviser (Environment Policy)
As part of the environment team , you will be managing policy issues such as those helping to tackle fly-tipping and reducing...

9 February 2015
Chef de Partie / Rang
Experience in a similar quality restaurant is beneficial but not necessary, however, service with a smile and personality is ...




Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...


29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...


23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...


23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...


22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...


16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...


16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...


14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...


12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...


8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...