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Thread: A bit of land drainage

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    Senior Member Footsfitter's Avatar
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    A bit of land drainage

    Once harvest was over the farm has had in drainage contractors to do some of the land they purchased a couple of years ago after having been its tenant for 25+ years prior to that. I managed to get down there with the SLR camera which doesn't get as much airing as it used to in the age of the smart phone in your pocket, I took a load of pictures, heres a fair wad of them for those interested.








    Heres Agripower of Great Missenden's Mastenbroek drainer, seems ironic to be here seeing as the farm once took over a local drainage contractor who was retiring..........then 6 months later the Min of Ag unexpectedly knocked the drainage grant on the head! Apparently it was about 6 months after the grant went that Buckinghamshire farmer Roger Longdin started what is now Agripower.

    Nice dry conditions, the soil is london clay being silty-capping up at the higher end of the field but more sandy down at the lower 1/2-1/3 where they are in the photos












    The drainer is powered by a V8 Deutz air-cooled engine. When it ticking over it has the familiar rattle that comes from the lorry type gearbox used to drive the trenching chain- I remember that from the smaller Mastenbroek we briefly owned- it had a smaller Ford 6cylinder Dorset engine.










    Heres the stone cart back after reloading. Our lot at the time only had MF2640's with trailed salmon stone carts but they did have a blade mounted up front. Things have changed a lot in nearly 30 years!
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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Proper multi-tasking when trenching, laying drain, stoneing and backfilling in one operation!














    The stone carts conveyor belt can be pushed by a ram out further at the front and the stone hopper tips so it can ferry stone to where it will be needed when conditions are the opposite of these



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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Notice the stone cart has had its track pads ends bent upwards so that when turning they tend to reduce soil being "planed" up by the normally square ends of the grouse plates.








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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Off they go towards the far hedge, nice straight lines













    Here thay have arrived at their ranging rods, like a dance routine they stop at the first rod, John the drainer driver leans out of his cab window and cuts off the drain pipe, removes the rod and continues trenching up untill the front of the machine is right in the hedge, lift out the trenching chain, reverse slightly and skew over a bit so his mate on the stonecart can stone the rest of the trench, then they both back out












    Now its off to the next run. Note the drainer is being tracked "backwards"- this is because it will reduce tooth and chain wear on the tracks as its actualy the correct direction for the tracks to go- idlers first



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    Senior Member Quattromike's Avatar
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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Looks like some operation there. You would need to be doing a fair few drains in a year to justify a setup like that
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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Why is it being trenched in rather than being ploughed in ?

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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Quote Originally Posted by Quattromike View Post
    Looks like some operation there. You would need to be doing a fair few drains in a year to justify a setup like that

    I think this side of the business is eclipsed by their "younger" sports pitch construction side http://www.agripower.co.uk/ but I expect there are times when kit from both sides of the business overlap on some jobs?
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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    Why is it being trenched in rather than being ploughed in ?

    Assume you mean ploughed- as with the drainers that heave up with a single angled leg or the V double leg to lay the pipe & stone in one go? Seen those working at the drainage demos years ago but around here all I've ever seen/heard of are this type of chain trencher. I've had the mole plough in and readied - the plan is to cross mole the drains every couple of years- there is some thought that the clay type in places is too sandy and the moles will collapse/silt up after a couple of years.




    This was back a long time ago in the same location- during an exceptionally dry spring when the ground had "shrunk" a lot and they were ridging beds for the destoners they came across a bit of metal................which turned out to be the remains of the original 40's-50's first pylons of what was to become the national grid- the original small line was replaced by the larger lines at a later date, the labourers removing the pylons just gassed them off, dug a bit around the concrete foot so they could fold over the 6"x6" angle irons out of sight, that was until we hooked one up!

    We guess there must of been another pylon between the find and the substation seen in the distance where the big pylons terminate. Agripowers drivers were going to have a bit of hunt around with the metal detector and see if they can find it before the drainer does!







    Heres the smaller Mastenbroek drainer and trailed stone cart on one of our then lorries ready to head off to the farm near Faro, Portugal the company had back then in the lettuce days. After a couple of years following the demise of the drainage grant the drainage side was wound up and this lot headed off out there to drain a lot of the soil out there. There was a dutchman farming nearby the farm at Faro and once he learnt of there being a drainer out there it wasn't long before he'd bought it to do his land and others. Suppose it was a dutchmans dream playing with water??







    Finally, here our boss-lady is pictured with the same machine back last year


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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Quote Originally Posted by Footsfitter View Post
    Assume you mean ploughed- as with the drainers that heave up with a single angled leg or the V double leg to lay the pipe & stone in one go? Seen those working at the drainage demos years ago but around here all I've ever seen/heard of are this type of chain trencher.
    Yes, much cheaper machine to run but you need a bigger track framed machine for more grip and a larger motor helps. The double leg was something that was pioneered by Derek Clarke. The idea was that you put a normal main in and then used much smaller diameter laterals but put them in at closer spacing and not use any permeable backfill which is the most expensive part of the cost of drainage.

    But then moling isn't as effective as it is when permeable backfill is used.

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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    FF, the pictures of the buried pylon legs look something unearthed from WW1! Its a fair set up the contractors have as zaza says. We had some done by Farmservices from Warwick who have a mastenbroek which is a beast of a thing just like the one in the pictures pulls the 'plough share' (didn't have the chain in front) through some of our heavy wet clay like its not there on the back. Great to see. Really interesting stuff

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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Farm Services are a well respected professional land drainage company in Warwickshire. The 3rd generation of the family is now a major component in running the business. When grants were available for land drainage there were lots of drainage boys in and around Warwickshire but the work virtually dried up over night when the grants stopped and those that didn't diversify, usually into sports field and amenity drainage work, fell by the wayside.

    There is drainage still being done but nothing like there was in the 60s & 70s but what is being done is a much better job. In the 60s no permeable backfill was used and that, without doubt, is one of the most important parts of the job, giving the customer the opportunity to mole across the drain runs when necessary.

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    Re: A bit of land drainage

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    Farm Services are a well respected professional land drainage company in Warwickshire. The 3rd generation of the family is now a major component in running the business. When grants were available for land drainage there were lots of drainage boys in and around Warwickshire but the work virtually dried up over night when the grants stopped and those that didn't diversify, usually into sports field and amenity drainage work, fell by the wayside.

    There is drainage still being done but nothing like there was in the 60s & 70s but what is being done is a much better job. In the 60s no permeable backfill was used and that, without doubt, is one of the most important parts of the job, giving the customer the opportunity to mole across the drain runs when necessary.
    Yes I can see why they are well respected. One of those firms you enjoy employing because of their experience and expertise, they just get on and make a good job. Its something/field I would like to have more experience and knowledge in.

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