NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Wet Ground  (Read 718 times)

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Wet Ground
« on: September 29, 2019, 10:47:14 am »
Half of my land is bordered by a running ditch. All lovingly fenced with posts wonderfully rotting in the ground so needing replacing often! (The entire place slants! Its a running joke, even the house is crooked. One of the joys of living on an older property. Veg garden slants several directions!)

What I call the cows field, starts at a reasonable height, then goes gently down hill, dips, then comes up slightly. No amount of drains (we've had several experts come out and give their advice) is going to stop the dip from flooding (especially when the neighbour has his slurry pit the other side of the fence and hedge and ditch that separates us). Bad winters/summers ditch fills, and our field dip fills. Ducks are happy! Mild springs and we get lots of frogspawn but then it dries and if they are lucky, me and a bucket go rescue frogspawn!

Dip has had reeds for years. To be honest, (I'm 45) and I've never known no reeds! BUT!! Due to "climate change" reeds are starting to come creeping up the field. I can top these little blighters (topper doesn't appreciate it!) but they grow back. Cattle and sheep, when dry, take great pleasure in lying what once was wet ground (not often) on comfy reeds due to them flattening them, right in the middle of the dip!

To go in the field and see no livestock makes your heart pound! Until I call Juniper and heads all pop up!!

Next to this field is another half hectare fenced. This field, though handy, is Flystrike Central! Basically, DONT put sheep down there unless protected at certain times. It is bounded on 2 sides by the same ditch! Now, when they flood, this does flood. Waders would be necessary to get to the fence as due to being the lowest part on the property, water would go over the top of wellies. This I know due to experience!!

With all the rain lately, i put the cattle and sheep all together yesterday and then traipsed down there to shut this field off. Sheep playing so beat me to it! Lovely to see fat pregnant (I hope) lumps springing like lambs! The field is currently spongey and wet patches and Hollow followed me to the boundary fence, still up due to good wire, but half the posts leaning one way, the other half leaning the other. The neighbours field, his fence has just completely given way. Its how the ground is here. So, sheep skip and jump back and I shut gate.

When we had a big willow tree given a hair cut several years ago, the chap looked and said "This is perfect down here for wildlife." And I do agree with him. Spent a day planting lots of trees, digging them in, staking them etc. Once established, let the sheep in to eat the grass. They did indeed eat the grass, AFTER they had decimated my trees!!

The bottom right is a nuisance field actually. Its also prone to thistles, short squatty ones and the ones that grow to about 4ft tall without flopping over and then give a beautiful purple head. Topping (spraying in the past) doesn't seem to do anything!!

I have suggested to mum that we find some good, water loving trees and plant them, but have done that before and no luck. Its completely different temperature down there, very muggy and humid. But it comes in handy if the other fields are needed. It can be shut off and the gates used as access way (to bypass an ajoining field, which is how we had the place divided).

Anyone got any suggestions?

Fast growing, not nibbley for rabbits so to speak.

The dip in the cows field, any ideas also. Whatever is planted, safe if nibbled by cattle and sheep and not spiky!! Though would prefer NO nibbling interests and non spiky!!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!
Voss Electric Fence

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 07:11:17 pm »
May I ask @PipKelpy what your objective is as regards plantings? 

It is difficult to imagine your land, but I don't see that planting anything that can survive periodic flooding is going to achieve much at all other than entertain the ducks by giving them something to swim around/through when the water levels build up.
That said, willows are obviously an option if you want something to grow and maybe shade out stuff like rushes.  Not all willow varieties tolerate being water-logged for long periods though, but one does not need to plant where flooding is worst; can plant around the edges of.

To note: young willow growth is loved by deer/rabbit/voles and I don't doubt by all other 4-legged vegetarians.

If you do consider suitable willow varieties, there might be the possibility of producing some wood-burner fuel or charcoal or shredded mulch or basketry/hurdles willow, but on a small scale - i.e. dips & ditches cropping would obviously be limited.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 12:17:21 am by arobwk »

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 06:55:52 am »
Something to take up a lot of the moisture!! The bottom right can't be done for hay. So think wildlife (bees!! NOT badgers!) and occasional grazing! When the place was fenced in 2006 it was a very very hot summer. It was bone dry down there for months! However it was one of the first places fenced due to having skitty Shetlands and Manx X sheep, and the post rammer pushed rather than bashed the posts in, it was that soft!

I have googled for livestock friendly wet loving plants, shrubs etc! Wet for most means occasional wet not ponds! The dip, I have considered willow but agree with regards to constant wet. The only reason the current willows survive is because they are massive.

Don't mind ducks! What I don't like is many drakes mithering a duck or finding headless carcasses as the fox has nabbed them!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 04:42:05 pm »
Shame mangrove doesn't grow in temperate climates! 

I did not mean to dismiss new willow plantings in very wet/flooding areas;  they are, afterall, used/planted along river banks to prevent erosion.  It's just that some of the hybrid varieties are deemed to be less tolerant of very wet/flooded conditions apparently

Virtually all willow will grow readily from cuttings (although 'tis said goat willow does not) AND one can find different willows everywhere, so no need to buy cuttings for your purposes unless you wants a particular species/variety.  Also they can be replenished easily enough if the herbivores do eat any young saplings.
Just keep sticking more and more cuttings in and around your wettest areas and, eventually, some will make it through and, potentially, end up naturally populating the more difficult areas also.
(Somerset willow beds have managed to survive under similar conditions.)

When you have some new established willows, it would be worth coppicing or low pollarding them each winter to produce new juicy growth for your sheep (or whatever) to enjoy in the Spring.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 12:20:31 am by arobwk »

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2019, 05:32:46 pm »
Is it possible to dig a sump and pump the water somewhere else, or is the amount too large? Perhaps the other option is to abandon that area and move the fences?

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2019, 05:59:01 pm »
Perhaps the other option is to abandon that area and move the fences?

Shock, horror!!! They are my boundary fences!!!! Though I do understand what you mean. What will make it worse is neighbouring fields have been giving permission to build 500 plus homes!! All on valuable farmland which I don't agree with. Some of this land floods but they are planning diversions etc which everyone finds interesting especially as current drains can't manage!!! But hey ho, that's progress for you!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2019, 11:48:42 pm »
"Please may we build 500 homes on this nice bit of the country-side?" .... "Oh, go on then - Approved.  Mind that you put in lots of drainage though and could you consider PipKelpy next door: your neighbour has some real drainage issues as evidenced by PK's comments on your planning application."

"Please may I build a new small affordable home on my bit of land - I'll put it up close to the new 500 house development next door?" .... "Um, it's not infill and we are a bit worried about drainage and there is no established bus route near your property and we reckon the house-hold will use a car or cars to get into the village, so sorry PipKelpy - Rejected"

However, PipKelpy, perhaps you might benefit from next door's new drainage arrangements: they might reduce the level of ground water (!?).
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 11:56:06 pm by arobwk »

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2019, 08:11:07 am »
Actually they offered to keep an access way available for future development into my land! But I don't agree with building on farmland when there are other sites available! Obviously you do agree with building on farmland!! Silly me, would rather have fields, including wet ground surrounding my home instead of housing estates!!! I'm not money grabbing!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

sandspider

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Bristol
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 10:29:36 am »
Alder?

I've got some doing well in wet ground, though it's never had standing water for a long period of time.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 10:44:09 am »
Best thing for stabilising wet ground is rushes, actually!   And rushes are wonderful natural shelter for sheep and lambs.

To control the ones coming up the field that you don’t want, top in August and again six-eight weeks later (if you can, sometimes it gets too wet for the topper, I know.)   Graze after topping.  Repeat every year.  Personally I’d aim to cut one third each year.  Better for wildlife to leave some in patches of different lengths, and it leaves some useful shelter for the livestock when the others are completely under water.

To control thistle, top every July, when they are in flower but not yet seeding.  Or get native ponies on there.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2019, 01:49:55 pm »
Actually they offered .... Obviously you do agree with building on farmland!!

You're reading it wrong PK.  What I agree with is sensibly allowing development of accommodation for legitimate agricultural purposes (as long is it doesn't end up with single residential developments in virtually every field/allotment across the nation).  What I don't agree with is building housing estates on decent farm land and good on you for holding out.
Unfortunately the development policies are stacked against sensible agri' developments/self-sufficient life-styles while destructive developments get through.

However, since one of your erstwhile farming neighbours didn't hold out, you might find that the modern drainage "next door" will help your land drain better (although it might not).
« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 02:33:13 pm by arobwk »

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 02:51:53 pm »

 Or get native ponies on there.

Am aware people want ground for their horses/ponies in our area. I'm not keen, due to neighbour rented a field for couple of donkeys for "just be couple of months!"

 refused to remove them or supply them with hay. Apparently well known for doing this!! In end, neighbour threatened legal action and donkeys to be slaughtered, owner come and removed them. Never did pay rent or backpay for hay eaten.

Neighbours land though was cleared of rushes and all other nasties as donkeys ate rather than starve!!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 08:55:55 pm »
Fill the dip in so the water runs off elsewhere ?
 My garden has 150 mtrs of 4 inch perforated land drain in four runs through it that I put in  . Each trench was backfilled with a mix of bark , wood chips & brush wood on top of the drain & up to the surface to allow drainage down through the blue coal mine clay .
These drains come out at a lower point on our property it took a couple of years to get them done but is worth while .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

regen

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2019, 05:11:07 am »
There are some instances where you cannot beat nature. The land is what it is and you have to accept it is not suitable for the purpose you have in mind. Get over it and let nature take its course.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Wet Ground
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2019, 06:25:37 pm »
Actually they offered to keep an access way available for future development into my land! But I don't agree with building on farmland when there are other sites available! Obviously you do agree with building on farmland!! Silly me, would rather have fields, including wet ground surrounding my home instead of housing estates!!! I'm not money grabbing!
The building has been given permission and you can't now stop it, so take aadvantage of it.  Ask the site manager if he can put drainage into your fields too and sluice the water into the system the same as theirs
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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