Ensure suitable drainage

14 January 2019

Soils
Drainage ditch aerial shot

Maintaining your land drainage is an essential tool for maximising the workability of your soils and will help improve both crop development and soil quality by helping to improve aerobic condition, particularly in wet conditions.

Where land is drained, extra care should be taken when applying fertilisers, manures and pesticides so that the field drain network does not act as a conduit for pollutants to water caused by these inputs. Remember to check your field drains annually; clearing and repairing any blocked or collapsed pipes will maximise their effectiveness.

Download the Field Drainage Guide, produced as part of AHDB’s GreatSoils project

However, in certain locations wetter fields can provide biodiversity and flood risk benefits, therefore it is important to consider these impacts when considering draining your fields.

Graham Clay by wetland_28268

You must not drain wet grassland that is used or designated as an important site for breeding and overwintering birds such as waders unless advised by Natural England. You must also avoid draining those fields that are designed as flood storage areas unless advised by the Environment Agency.

Learn more about issues of drainage in wetland areas in the Natural England report on lowland water level management and drainage.

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