Farm Life

Drain Doctor

We’ve taken advantage of the recent dry spell to work on our drains. Well-drained fields are critical, as water can accumulate in undrained patches, a real headache when planting time rolls along. Some fields, given their soil composition and texture, drain naturally. Others need a little help. Not so long ago (in the 70s and early 80s), field drainage was government-subsidized. But times have changed, and drainage work now costs a farmer an average of $1500 an acre. Our vegetable fields were drained back in the 80s, but increasingly large field puddles meant these ‘old’ drains were no longer doing their job. We decided it was time to call in the ‘drain doctor’ – who, through a mix of art and science, with a backhoe and a long metal rod, digs here and there, locates drainpipes, joints, collectors and the culprits – i.e. rootballs and sundry other obstructive materials which can greatly limit the effectiveness of an entire drainage system. Doctor, diviner, miracle worker – agricultural drain specialists work intuitively, often without the original drain plans. When you have a good drain doctor, you count your blessings…in farming, small miracles can make a big difference.