« EdellinenJatka »
tract of land is a late purchase of Sir John Peter Boileau, Bart., of Ketteringham Hall, whose zeal for the most liberal promotion of agricultural and other improvements is well known in the county of Norfolk. It contains about 154 acres, and is situated in a nearly level and table-land district of about 4 square miles in extent. Indeed, such is its flat appearance, that persons in the locality believed it incapable of drainage.
The nature of the surface and sub-soil is of a most uniform character, and consists of detrital deposits. With the pulverization of the soil, which has been going on for ages without proper drainage, it has become a compact and inert clay, which extends to a depth of from about 1 foot to 18 inches; underneath this the soil is composed of a similar description of clay, but has numerous podules of chalk, and is consequently of a more marly character than the surface soil. In this sub-soil there are also present pockets of sand; from thence downwards it increases in its chalky properties until it reaches the upper chalk. As regards the inclination of its general surface, it was found, when the levels were carefully taken, that the average fall was about 1 foot in 800. Seeing, therefore, that the fall was so slight, it was thought to be necessary that the inclination of the main drains should be particularly, attended to, and the fall economiscd as much as possible; keeping in view at the same time, the desirability of making the draft of the minor drains as short as practicable for the same reason, namely, the slight fall. It may be well here also to state that it has been the custom to drain lands of a similar description in this vicinity, by digging trenches two to three feet deep, and filling them in with dead brushwood at the bottom ; but this system has been found to be efficient for four or five years only. It appears to me that the inefficiency after the expiration of this period is to be accounted for by the gradual consolidation of the particles of clay around these brushwood stems, which stop the passages by which the water found its exit; for these passages must at first be so numerous, and the streams of percolation so divided, that they do not possess sufficient strength to maintain their courses. I know it is the opinion of many that these brushwood stems in
course of time will decay, and thereby provide larger passages for the water; but when the stems once become coated with this clayey substance and the air excluded thereby, the decomposition of the wood ceases, as is proved by taking out some of the wood which has been buried for years, and appears to be nearly as sound as the day it was put in. The cost of this, with trenches 10 yards apart and 2 feet 6 inches deep, is said to be about 35s. ($8.40) per acre.
In the system of drainage adapted at Hethel Wood Farm it has been attempted in every instance to prevent the water from the higher and more inclined surfaces from running upon or into the lower land. Upon the more inclined surfaces the drains have been laid upon an average of four feet deep and 30 feet apart. Upon the lowest lands they have been laid 24 feet apart and four feet deep.
The lowest lands during the whole of last winter were very wet, and the surface so charged with water, that in walking across them the foot would sink in ankle deep. These wet lands were the first drained, which was at the beginning of February last. The quantity of rain which fell during the early part of the spring clearly showed, by the body of water discharged by the drains, and the improved appearance of the land, that ample drainage has been effected; and there can be little doubt, after the expiration of the present summer, and the cracking of the soil between the drains has been effected and new channels thereby formed, that increased efficiency of the drainage will ensue during the coming winter. The pipes which have been used for the minor drains are 11 inch in diameter. The pipes for the main drains varied in size from three to five inches, according to the quantity of water which they might have to discharge. The sub-soil dug out, consisting of clay mixed with chalk nodules and occasional sand-pockets, which vary from three to four inches in diameter, was thought to be valuable for spreading on the surface. This opinion was confirmed by that intelligent and practical agriculturist, Mr. John Hudson, of Castleacre, Norfolk. The quantity amounted to about 90 loads
This dressing must produce an effect upon the land, and make it, in conjunction with drainage, more pervious to moisture, and afford greater facility for the roots of plants to expand, and also tend to decompose the free acids, and also those in combination, existing in the soil in a natural state, and inimical to vegetation. I was very desirous that the existing open drains should be filled in with proper sized pipes, by which the chance of neglect of keeping them clear would be obviated, and a considerable surface of land would thereby have been acquired; but the high prices demanded for such pipes, in the locality, precluded their
As regards the system adopted in executing the work, it may be stated that the first foot was plowed out, the rest taken out with narrow draining spades and the lance-headed tool.
The estimate of the cost of the work was £539 9s., exclusive of spreading, which amounted to £37 5s., making a total of £576 14.; whereas the actual cost was £568 14s. 2d., or £3 14s. 4d. per acre; ($17.93.) The cost would not have amounted to this, had the manufacturer supplied the quantity of pipes he had engaged to do at 16s. per thousand. In consequence of his failing to do this, some of the pipes had to be procured at a cost of 25s. per thousand.
It is seldom a case occurs where drainage is likely to be more beneficial; and there is little doubt the spreading of the subsoil, in conjunction with perfect drainage, will enhance the productiveness of the land at least 30 per cent, which advantage, if realized, I think it will be admitted has been obtained at a very moderate cost; for it is stated by Mr. Raynbird, in volume vin. of the Society's “Transactions,” that the labor of subsoiling, filling, and spreading alone is considered worth 24d. per load, which at 90 loads per acre, would be worth nearly 199. per acre.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
HAMilton Fulton, Civil Engineer. 8, Great Queen st., Westminster, June, 1851.
EXPERIMENTS IN DRAINING,
By John Joboston, of Seneca County, N. Y.
To the Executive Committee of the
New-York State Agricultural Society. GENTLEMEN—In your list of premiums presented to the farmers of this State for competition, at the winter meeting in January next, a premium is offered for experiments in draining.
Having long esteemed a good system of drainage as important to good farming, and being well convinced that it would much increase the profits on most farms, I have made tile drains on my farm in Seneca county, extending to full sixteen miles in length. The farm is situated ou the rich clay ridge which extends from the Seneca river southerly to Tompkins county, a ridge of land devoted chiefiy to the cultivation of wheat. I was many years ago satisfied of the necessity of removing in some economical way the surplus water which saturated the soil, and too often interfered with the growth or maturity of the crop, not only the wheat, but also with other grain and clover. My first efforts, for more perfect drainage, were made in 1835, when I imported a pattern of Drain Tile from Scotland, and caused them to be made in this neighborhood by hand labor. But it was not until 1839-40, that I felt encouraged by success, as the labor and cost were too great to warrant extensive use ; such tiles as were used by me, gave satisfactory evidence of their value. The important changes effected on portions of my farm, were noticed by your present presiding officer, and so thoroughly convinced him of their utility and necessity of drainage, that 1848, he imported a machine for making drain tiles in this county. From that day the expense or cost has been reduced, that no excuse exists for wet fields or grain being destroyed by freezing out. From that day I have continued to construct drains as fast as my proper farm labor would permit, and present to you the results thus far obtained. The question as to the depth of drains has always been one of interest, and some uncertainty. On this point, I deem it absurd to
propose any fixed rules, as the depth must depend upon the formation of the land and nature of the soil. The rule adopted by me, is first to select a good outlet for the water, then to dig a ditch so deep as to find a hard bottom, on which to lay the tile; yet I have laid many tiles on clay, and they have done well. On my farm this depth is generally found at two and a half to three feet in depth, and I believe no drains ought to be less than two and a half feet in depth, the distance between the drains are regulated by the character of the soil; if it is open or porous, drains three or four rods apart may thoroughly drain it, while on more tenacious soils, two rods apart may be needed. In most cases, where my fields lay nearly level, it has been found necessary to construct the drains nearer to each other, adopting as a rule, that the drains should always reach the point of the field, where water is indicated to rise, and that is always at.or near the highest part of the field, although that may only be observed when there is much water in the earth, and the springs full, or when the field is in wheat or clover; at such elevations, I put my drains deeper and nearer each other to make sure to keep the water all under ground, using smaller tile leading to the main or submain drains,
This rule has been important, for when opening ditches on the low grounds the water has flowed with a force to induce most people to believe that it was derived from springs close by, when possibly the spring may be some 60 or 80 rods distant at or near the most elevated part of the field, which, when reached, may save much expense in draining the lower lands. This shows the necessity of thoroughly examining the land to be drained in the wettest season. The main drains occupy the valleys or lowest grounds, receiving the lateral drains and collected water. They are constructed of larger tiles, and discretion and care are very necessary to apportion the main drains to the quantity of water to be discharged. In several iustances I have found it necessary to lay a double row of four inch tile in main drains to carry off the quantity of water collected by the smaller tile. I have generally used the half round or horse shoe tile, as they are called. The fanr inch tile are in most cases large enough for main drains and