This is a great time of the year to consider where you may need grassed waterways. Although they can be inconvenient to farm around, they are very effective in saving the soil on your farm. As you are harvesting your fields this fall look for small gullies and erosion control issues. This well-known practice is installed to repair small gullies in crop fields and manage the flow of rainfall runoff. Grassed waterways are typically 30 to 50 feet wide, are designed to be crossed by farm equipment, and typically include installation of a tile which helps keep the waterway dry.
Best way to plan for a grassed waterway next year is to plant the field to wheat this fall, since the construction can occur after wheat harvest and still allow time for the grass seeding to get established. Waterways can also be constructed in the spring. Ideal conditions allow for installation of the tile in the fall and construct the waterway the following spring or summer. The district needs time to investigate, survey and design the waterway, so don’t wait to sign up, the best time to install is shortly after wheat harvest. Once your grassed waterway is installed it is important to maintain it for it to do its job.
If you have an eroded area (gully), contact the office to setup a site visit. The SWCD personnel will determine if the site is eligible and explain the program to you. One extremely crucial factor is that waterways take several months from start to finish, so contact us 6 to 12 months in advance.
If you are interested in learning more about sod waterways or any other conservation program, please contact Ryan Evers at Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District at (937) 492 – 6520 ext. 2591.
Thank you to all who have thought about and implemented conservation measures on the land. Conservation efforts would not be where they are at the present day without the people right here in Shelby County willingly signing up for these programs. This shows devotion and a desire for continued water quality for a cleaner tomorrow.
The writer is a district technician for the Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District.