Land Drainage - A farmer’s practical guide to draining grassland in Ireland
Soil test pit
Drainage system maintenance
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CitationTuohy, Patrick et al. Land Drainage – a farmer’s practical guide to draining grassland in Ireland: Moorepark Dairy Levy Research Update Series 20. Teagasc – Agricultural & Food Development Authority, July 2013
AbstractNo drainage work should be carried out before the drainage characteristics of the soil are established by a site and soil test pit investigation. • Two types of drainage system exist: a groundwater drainage system and a shallow drainage system. The design of the system depends entirely on the drainage characteristics of the soil. • Distinguishing between the two types of drainage systems essentially comes down to whether or not a permeable layer is present (at a workable depth) that will allow the flow of water with relative ease. If such a layer is evident, a piped drain system at that depth is likely to be effective. If no such layer is found during soil test pit investigations, it will be necessary to improve the drainage capacity of the soil. This involves a disruption technique such as moling, gravel moling or subsoiling in tandem with collector drains. • Drains are not effective unless they are placed in a free draining soil layer or complimentary measures (mole drainage, subsoiling) are used to improve soil drainage capacity. If water is not moving through the soil in one or other of these two ways, the water table will not be lowered. • Outfall level must not dictate the drainage system depth. If a free draining layer is present, it must be utilised. • Drain pipes should always be used for drains longer than 30 m. If these get blocked it is a drainage stone and not a drainage pipe issue. • Drainage stone should not be filled to the top of the field trench except for very limited conditions (the bottom of an obvious hollow). Otherwise it is an extremely expensive way of collecting little water. • Most of the stone being used for land drainage today is too big. Clean aggregate in the 10–40 mm (0.4 to 1.5 inch approx) grading band should be used. Generally you get what you pay for. • Subsoiling is not effective unless a shallow impermeable layer is being broken or field drains have been installed prior to the operation. Otherwise it will not have any long-term effect and may do more harm than good. • Most land drainage systems are poorly maintained. Open drains should be clean and as deep as possible and field drains feeding into them should be regularly rodded or jetted.
CollectionsEnvironment, Soils & Land Use
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Use of Ochre from an Abandoned Metal Mine in the South East of Ireland for Phosphorus Sequestration from Dairy Dirty WaterFenton, Owen; Healy, Mark G.; Rodgers, M. (Soil Science Society of America, 2009-05)Ochre found at coal mine drainage sites in the United Kingdom shows a high phosphorus (P) retention capacity with little mobilization of metals. This indicates that ochre has the potential to adsorb P from agricultural wastewaters for possible use as a fertilizer. Little research has focused on the ability of metal mine ochre to sequester P in an environmentally sustainable way. Untreated acid mine drainage from an abandoned coppersulfur mine in the Avoca-Avonmore catchment in the south east of Ireland results in extensive low-value ochre deposition. In this study, P-amended water (50 mL) was mixed with this ochre (2.5 g) in batch experiments, and a maximum P adsorption capacity, calculated from the Langmuir equation, of between 16 and 21 g P kg−1 was calculated. However, mobilization of heavy metals from Avoca ochre in distilled, surface, and dirty water batch experiments was observed. This mobilization may inhibit ochre’s use in P removal from wastewaters.
Effect of an agri-environmental measure on nitrate leaching from a beef farming system in IrelandRichards, Karl G.; Jahangir, M.M.R.; Drennan, Michael J; Lenehan, J.J.; Connolly, J.; Brophy, C.; Carton, Owen T. (Elsevier, 2015-01-07)Agricultural nitrogen (N) management remains a key environmental challenge. Improving N management is a matter of urgency to reduce the serious ecological consequences of the reactive N. Nitrate (NO3−–N) leaching was measured under suckler beef production systems stocked at two intensities: (1) intensive, 210 kg organic N ha−1 with two cut silage harvests; and (2) rural environmental protection scheme (REPS), 170 kg organic N ha−1 with one cut silage harvest. Three replicate plots of each treatment were instrumented with ceramic cups (8 per plot), randomly placed within each plot at a depth of 1 m to collect soil solution for NO3−–N at 50 kPa suction to collecting vessels one week prior to sampling. Samples were taken on a total of 53 sampling dates over 3 winter drainage periods (2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05). Over the course of the experiment the mean annual soil solution NO3−–N concentration exceeded the MAC twice out of 15 means (5 treatments over 3 years). The REPS grazing and silage sub treatments had significantly lower mean annual soil solution total oxidized N (TON) concentrations than the respective intensive treatments in years 2 and 3. Annual total NO3−–N losses over the three years in intensive and REPS systems ranged from 55 to 71 and 15 to 20 kg N ha−1, respectively. Mean N surpluses in intensive and REPS systems were 210 and 95 kg ha−1, respectively with the corresponding mean N inputs of 272 and 124 kg N ha−1. The reduction in N inputs under the REPS system results in lower N leaching losses and contributed to a significant reduction in pressures on water quality.
A note on the Hybrid Soil Moisture Deficit Model v2.0Schulte, Rogier P. O.; Simo, Iolando; Creamer, Rachel E.; Holden, Nicholas M. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)The Hybrid Soil Moisture Deficit (HSMD) model has been used for a wide range of applications, including modelling of grassland productivity and utilisation, assessment of agricultural management opportunities such as slurry spreading, predicting nutrient emissions to the environment and risks of pathogen transfer to water. In the decade since its publication, various ad hoc modifications have been developed and the recent publication of the Irish Soil Information System has facilitated improved assessment of the spatial soil moisture dynamics. In this short note, we formally present a new version of the model (HSMD2.0), which includes two new soil drainage classes, as well as an optional module to account for the topographic wetness index at any location. In addition, we present a new Indicative Soil Drainage Map for Ireland, based on the Irish Soil Classification system, developed as part of the Irish Soil Information System.