View Full Version : Need ideas on drainage for food plot fields

07-20-2010, 05:49 PM
I have several acres of brush on my property that is useless part of the year for bedding or any other purpose because it is wet from spring thaw through June and even part of July in wet years. Bone dry of course mid summer through the winter. I rented a machine last August and cleared out an acre for brassicas. The bottomland produced a great crop and I had tons of deer hammering the brassicas once the frost came. But of course I was unable to get my tractor in this field this past spring and through June because of all the rain. I did frost seed some clover there which came up half decent but with all the water, the weeds went crazy since I couldn't get in there to cut or spray.

Anyway, I would love to be able to put spring/summer annuals in this area and clear some more land for year round groceries. I've read up on drainage ditches and tile drainage and I'm leaning towards the ditches only because I can rent a track hoe fairly reasonably and I have plenty of experience running one. My thoughts are if the drainage ditches don't do the job, I could always add tile drains later and tie those into the ditches. I have one drainage ditch along the highway that the water eventually runs to and that connects to a creek through my place. So moving the water is not a problem, I just want to help speed up the process and open more land for year round food plots and also add some good bedding cover with WSG, EW, etc.

Sorry for the long post. I've been told to hire a drainage contactor but that is out of the question. Everything I've done to this property has been done by me, family or friends. I don't have the desire to drop a ton of money on a contractor and I'm in no hurry to get it done. Any advice would be appreciated.


07-20-2010, 05:57 PM
Brian -
I was in a similar situation, except that my field would hold water every time the creek that lies next to it would flash flood. The rendered big pockets of my small (2.3 acre) field useless and always frustrated me. Unforutnately I don't have the skills, equipment or connections to do the work myself, so in conjunction with enlarging the food plot, I had a contractor come in and properly grade the land and drain the water into specific areas that wouldn't affect my land management goals. I doubled the size of the plot and added some shallow areas for water to collect and leave the field. At first I didn't think it looked like they had done enough and was worried about how the field would react to water. After our first heavy rains of the spring I was pleasantly surprised to see how a little bit of grading with some heavy equipment could really make a difference in water holding on my field. I was very hesitate to plant crops (and didn't last year) because I was always worried about wasting them with the water sitting on the field. I'm happy to say that I've got a very nice stand of soybeans and corn this year and haven't lost any of it to water damage, even though the creek has gotten out of its banks a couple of times.

I don't know exactly how your property lies, but I like the idea of shallow drainages or water collection areas and then grading the rest of the ground out to trickle into those areas.

07-20-2010, 06:36 PM
Our farm land was very flat and we used to put in "flat ditch's" or "field drains" in the fall to let the melting snowfall off the land in the spring. These flat ditch's would drain into a larger ditch then off to a larger creek.

Without knowing the lay of your land it's hard to say, but would something like this work? We would put them in with a "blade" on the back of the tractor or just one point of a plow. They were'nt very deep, but just enough to get water moving.




07-20-2010, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the input, both of those ideas are along the same lines that I was thinking. Canuck, that last picture is exactly what I pictured doing with the rented track hoe/mini-excavator. Should be able to get started on this project in the next two weeks. I'll try to keep you posted with pics and progress.


07-21-2010, 09:50 AM

Have you thought about putting in a couple of willow tree clippings. You can cut off the branchs of a live tree and stick them right into moist soil and they will start a root ball. Willows are excellent for drying out marshy areas.