Will I have less feed going into summer as a result of draining the paddock?
Quite the contrary. Pastures and crops on drained paddocks are able to develop deeper, more extensive root systems. The result is a greater ability to withstand drier conditions.
Has drainage been around for long?
Sub-surface drainage is an essential fundamental of farming systems in the UK, Europe, North America, Canada and now Australia. Many drains in England, built in Roman Times are still functioning today.
How much does it cost?
Costings depend on a host of factors such as soil type, gradient, rainfall, farming system etc. Typically, for dairy pastures, costs range from $1500 – $3700 per hectare. ($600 – $1500 per acre)
How can I justify such a capital expense?
The major gain from utilising sub-surface drainage on your farm is the vastly improved productivity that stems from having the water-table controlled at a pre-determined depth. Dairying pastures showing a 30% increase in winter production and cropping yields being doubled are typical of the results being
How long do the drains last?
Modern installation techniques utilising laser controlled trenching machinery and corrugated plastic pipe can result in drainage systems with a high degree of permanence. What is of importance is the need to design the system to take into account future farming needs.
Where does the water go?
Into existing creeks and waterways, just as it always has. The total discharge from a paddock is of a more regulated form and in fact may be reduced due to more effective moisture utilisation by plants.
How quickly can I expect a return on my investment?
Using dairying as an example, typical pay-back periods are of the order of 2 to 4 years depending on the system installed. These returns come from the combination of boosted pasture growth, higher pasture utilisation and increased stocking rates.