Draining in the snow

Whilst in some parts of the world this is common, working in the snow only happens rarely for us so I thought a couple of photos were in order. In fact the snow made little difference to us and the ground was frozen hard below it. If conditions allow crack on.

 

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#DrainageFacts

 

Over on twitter a little while ago I posted a series of tweets about Land drainage, I thought I would put them all on here in one place

 

The materials used for backfilling early drains were those most easily obtained, so a variety of drain types evolved, utilising stones, bricks, straw ropes or hedge trimmings for example.

 

 

Jospeh Elkington from Warwickshire was an early drainage pioneer who used an understanding of soil types and the water table to drain land. So grateful was parliament that it awarded him a grant of £1,000.00 in 1795.

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About 12M (1.3 billion today) was loaned from 1850 to 78 by government and private companies to install drainage, also many landowners drained land with their own money

In 1845 Thomas Scragg, invented a machine for producing drainage tiles, which brought their price down by some 70%, allowing drainage to be carried out on a large scale for the first time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Often it is not possible to date old pipes accurately, but those stamped with ‘DRAIN’ were almost certainly made between 1826 & 1850 as field drains made in this period were exempt from a tax on clayware if so marked.

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Drainage is mentioned in the novel Middlemarch by George Elliot, 1871 “see that your tenants don’t sell their straw and give them draining tiles you know but your fancy farming will not do” (abridged)

 

Ridge & furrow was one of the oldest practices to ensure that at least some of the land was moderately well drained, especially in clay areas, where it exploited the natural properties of the clay to dispose of surface water by run-off

 

Despite all the benefits of modern(ish) equipment & materials, the 250,000ac drained each year in the 1970’s & 1980’s was still well below the annual peak of the C19th drainage mania, all of which was installed by hand

old

 

Soil strength is direct linked to the water table. As many who have ended up axle deep will understand…

Soil strength

Traditionally in land drainage, distances where measured in rods and chains. 1 rod equals 5.5yds/5m and a chain 22yds/20m

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Cato the elder (BC 234-149) Roman senator praised drainage schemes “if the land is wet it should be drained … in stiff soils open ditched should be used and in loose soils the drains should be covered”

 

Drainage has a long history, the oldest known systems date back some 9000 years in Mesopotamia, Drain pipes were in use 4000 years ago in the lower Indus Valley and bamboo pipes were used in ancient China

 

In Europe the most widely used drain spacing formula is the Hooghoudt equation. It can be written as Q L2 = 8 Kb d (Dd – Dw) + 4 Ka (Dd – Dw)2 For more info: https://bit.ly/2Kn0cq4 

 

Plastic Land drainage pipes (up to 200mm diameter) and connectors should conform to BS. 4962

 

The life expectancy of pipe drains should be at least 10 years, with 30-50 years as typical. Some may continue to function for much longer, and many drains installed in the last century are still working perfectly

 

If a permeable backfill is to be used then it must be clean, free from dust or soil and be between 5mm and 50mm in size. Preferable smaller than 40mm.

 

The minimum depth of cover over any land drain should be at least 600mm (preferable more), which is deep enough not to interfere with moling ploughing or any other agricultural practice

 

All drains need to be laid to a regulated grade thus allowing water to move in the desired direction via gravity. Grade is calculated by the following equation. Difference in height over distance, times by 100.

 

Land drainage only removes water which is able to move through the soil. Once the field is at field capacity the drains stop running. Many thanks to @ClarkFarmDrain for the picture

watermovementinsoils

Field capacity is reached when excess water is drained. It is a practical measure of the amount of water in soil. Often field capacity is reached when the volume of water is 25% of total volume (it does vary with different soil types)

 

After the Second World War, two million ha of agricultural land was drained in England and Wales, through grant aid. Peaking in the 70’s and early 80’s when over 100,000ha of land was being drained each year

 

Plastics pipes were first accepted for grant-aid in England & Wales in 1964. There was steady increase in use from only 4% in 1971 to over 80% by 1980. Soon after practically all land drains laid were plastic.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Grant aid was removed from Land Drainage in the early 80’s as you can see from this graph the effect was massive. In historical terms very little drainage has been carried out in the last thirty five years in the UK

Graph

You can install land drainage in many different ways but it is mainly done with specialist equipment such as chain trencher, a wheel trencher, a straight plow or a v plow.

 

GPS is now taking over from Laser for grade control. It is just as accurate and has a number of advantages in set up and design.

 

25% of the Netherlands is under sea level, 65% of land would be flood if not for water management.

 

The sandy soils of the Netherlands often block land drains with silt, along with regular jetting most pipes are installed with a wrapping, many things have been used including old carpet, coconut husks & polystyrene

 

A great deal of drainage was installed in the Netherlands during the second part of the 20th century, in total some 750,000 ha in the ‘old lands’ and 150,000 ha in the new ponders were drained.

 

John Johnson (Seneca County, NY, USA) was an early drainage pioneer, his neighbors laughed at him burying crockery but stopped when he produced 50 bu/acre where previously 5 bu/acre was harvested. He became know as “The Father of Tile Drainage”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

John Johnson eventually laid 72 miles of tile drains on his farm and stated that his considerable success was due to “D, C and D”—“dung, credit, and drainage.”

 

If you wish to operate as a drainage contractor in Ontario you will need a machine licence, a business Licence & machine operator licence which comes in three parts Class C for apprentices, through to Class A for experienced operatives.

 

All completed drainage schemes should be recorded with an ‘as laid’ drawing (this was compulsory for grant aid). Both the client & contractor should keep a copy, we have thousands of completions plans going back to the 1940’s

oldcompplan2

Overtime a set of standardised symbols and colours have been developed for drainage completion plans in the UK. As the picture below shows a standard key (it is taken from the @AHDB drainage guide)

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If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio on a wet Sunday afternoon it is the home of the Drainage Hall of Fame, 81st out 120 things to do in Columbus on Tripadvisor…..

We’re Hiring

 

Farm Services Limited is seeking the right candidates to join the company. Founded in 1942 the company has a number of vacancies. You will be part of a drainage team installing pipe work in the agricultural, construction and sportfield sectors. Ideally the candidates will have experience operating plant such as tractors, wheeled excavators and 360 degree excavators (CPCS cards a plus) However the most important attribute is the right attitude, we’re looking for people willing to get stuck in and work hard. In return you will receive onsite training and the possibility of rapid promotion.

All positions are subject to a trail period and from time to time, overnight stays will be necessary. Pay will be dependent upon experience and skillset. To discuss this opportunity further, in confidence, please call Rob Burtonshaw 01926 651540. All applications will need to be made in writing to:

Rob Burtonshaw, Farm Services Ltd, Chesterton Estate Yard, Banbury Road, Lighthorne, Warwickshire, CV35 0AF.

Or emailed to: rob@farmservicesltd.co.uk

http://www.farmservicesltd.co.uk

#LandDrainageFacts

I have been posting a series of tweets entitled #Drainagehistory #LandDrainageFacts, Just a bit of fun really, I thought I would post them all on here as well. This is part one, part two will follow in a couple of weeks

 

The materials used for backfilling early drains were those most easily obtained, so a variety of drain types evolved, utilising stones, bricks, straw ropes or hedge trimmings for example.

 

Jospeh Elkington from Warwickshire was an early drainage pioneer who used an understanding of soil types and the water table to drain land. So grateful was parliament that it awarded him a grant of £1,000.00 in 1795.

 

20181112_141750

 

About £12M (£1.3 billion today) was loaned from 1850 to 78 by government & private companies, to install drainage, also many landowners drained land with their own money.

 

 

In 1845 Thomas Scragg, invented a machine for producing drainage tiles, which brought their price down by some 70%, allowing drainage to be carried out on a large scale for the first time.

 

Sunningdale drainage

 

Often it is not possible to date old pipes accurately, but those stamped with ‘DRAIN’ were almost certainly made between 1826 & 1850 as field drains made in this period were exempt from a tax on clayware if so marked.

 

 

Drainage is mentioned in the novel Middlemarch by George Elliot, 1871 “see that your tenants don’t sell their straw and give them draining tiles you know but your fancy farming will not do” (abridged)

 

Ridge & furrow was one of the oldest practices to ensure that at least some of the land was moderately well drained, especially in clay areas, where it exploited the natural properties of the clay to dispose of surface water by run-off

 

Despite all the benefits of modern(ish) equipment & materials, the 250,000ac drained each year in the 1970’s & 1980’s was still well below the annual peak of the C19th drainage mania, all of which was installed by hand

 

Soil strength is direct linked to the water table. As many who have ended up axle deep will understand…

 

Soil strength

 

Traditionally in land drainage, distances where measured in rods and chains. 1 rod equals 5.5yds/5m and a chain 22yds/20m

 

20181112_142100

 

Cato the elder (BC 234-149) Roman senator praised drainage schemes “if the land is wet it should be drained … in stiff soils open ditched should be used and in loose soils the drains should be covered”

 

Drainage has a long history, the oldest known systems date back some 9000 years in Mesopotamia, Drain pipes were in use 4000 years ago in the lower Indus Valley and bamboo pipes were used in ancient China

Hotting up

Being a contractor can be a frustrating game sometimes. Complaining about it doesn’t help anyone but it’s impossible not to have a rye smile at the course of events. Often it is the flow of work which causes the problems. In a perfect world, we would have a gentle, constant stream of juicy contracts neatly lined up in geographic order so the moves are as short as possible, of course this never happens, in fact it is so unrealistic that even in my dreams the work flow is sporadic. Normally some things fit together nicely and other things cause us travel fifty miles in one direction only to trace our steps back to a job next door to when we have just been.

 

At the moment we are hitting a silly period, I can almost feel the pressure building up just around the corner. The very wet weather in spring stopped us from getting an early start meaning we had a back log from the beginning. Since then we have been ticking along nicely, catching up slowly but surely. This is going to change, it seems like every contract is scheduled for the next couple of months; we are going to be very busy bees. The pressure to move on to the next job will be high, and we will be working for as long as the day light will last.

 

Of course this is good news, the days fly by when you’re busy and I’m sure an awful lot of people reading this will be in a similar position. I need to make it clear that I’m not complaining, lots of work is a good thing, I’m just trying to brace myself for the deluge. It’s all part of working in a seasonal business.