Three Ways to Mitigate Excess Springtime Moisture
In a perfect world, producers could build their feedlot or dairy from the ground up and strategically place drainage systems to efficiently and effectively serve the operation and environment. But as we all know, most operations use a combination of incremental improvements and maintenance to operate to the same standards.
Drainage systems that work should be a high priority when thinking about adding improvements to a facility. The first step to adding improvements is to identify where the problem lies, and standing water is often a challenge, especially at this time of year.
Excess water may show up as a surface-level problem, which surface drains can easily help overcome. However, when the below-ground soil becomes over-saturated, a subsurface soil drain might be the only way to solve this level of buildup. Fixing extensive standing water is expensive and doesn’t make a lot of economic sense, so preventative practices are typically the most affordable and effective way to increase soil health and provide cattle with optimal yard conditions.
Sloping Lots A little dirt work can go a long way to protect soil integrity and maintain excess water. Scraping lots to a 3-5% slope away from the feedbunk toward a runoff collection ditch can help reduce a build-up of manure and standing water.
Mounds Reshaping mounds and valleys will ensure that water drains quickly and provide cattle with resting areas during muddy spells. Building mounds from clay soils and limestone will help reduce water retention and provide longevity to the structure. Adding this job to your maintenance checklist is a simple and highly-effective way to upkeep yards.
Concrete at the bunk For cattle that spend a significant amount of time at the feedbunk, consider expanding the concrete pad at the bunk. Typical sizes are 8-12 feet, but increasing the depth to 12-16 feet will help maintain dryer pen conditions.
Incremental, long-term improvements and investments for dairies and feedlots are best planned out in advance. Get ahead of drainage issues with good design and proper management to set your operation up for success now and in the future.