Water Ponding

Australia Felix Permaculture pcorgbgo at bendigo.net.au
Thu Dec 13 08:13:21 EST 2001

Hello Frank,

Its been a while - I hope things are well for you.

Often one of the problems we face are undulations that in well watered areas
collect water. This can be exacerbated by grazing, especially where it has
taken place on ground that is a bit wet. Might I suggest that the
undulations are caused by tree clearing (ie stump holes/removal) and that in
to remedy the situation either some earthworks need to be undertaken or
changes/adjustments need to made to the landuse.

Given your equipment listed I would suggest that you use your grader blade
to make some
very shallow (4"-6") and broad  drains that fall at around 1:500-600 or less
depending on the soil conditions. This type of construction will grass over
very quickly - which can be a problem in deeper more typical drains. We have
used these drains to cheaply move large volumes of water, yet still allow
hay production - which I guess may be a problem with your existing

Another method is to use a rotary drainer (one of my favorite implements).
We have one and it cost about $1000 and runs very well indeed behind quite
small tractors (<35hp). We use it for all keyline drains, although at higher
more intense rainfall than we have, higher capacity drains would be needed.
These too grass over quickly.

Another alternative is to plant copses of fodder trees in each of the
hollows (you didn't say what dimensions these were). Perhaps one of your
great white
oaks or a chestnut in the centre of each hollow and ringed by a range of
leaf fodder and fruiting species. This productive "landscape" approach would
be the
cheapest and least intrusive way of utilising these hollows without
compromising production.
Indeed linking these via portable tape electric fencing will provide the
greatest cell grazing flexibility.

Again hope all goes well for the coming winter. We're waiting for the
swelter to arrive....


Darren Doherty
Australia Felix Permaculture

----- Original Message -----
From: <FranksFarm at aol.com>
To: permaculture <permaculture at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 2:53 PM
Subject: Re: Water Ponding

> Good day all,
> Just a question or two on water management/land grading.
> I plan to do rotational grazing for my cattle. My pastures are ringed by
> fairly high hills that when it rains creates areas of ponding, and often a
> bloody muddy mess.
> Further some of the pastures are pretty uneven, and contain cedars and
> trees.
> Moving dirt and gravel to the problem areas would be expensive and time
> consuming. Putting in drains would also be quite a job, and possibly
> expensive due to the number of wet areas, and distances to drain ways.
> I have a box blade and a tractor that could be used to grade some areas,
> I'm really wondering if the benefits are worth it?
> Look forward to the lists' comments.  TIA  Frank
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