Bob currently owns hog operations in Michigan and Indiana. Bob has installed filter strips and grassed waterways along the Eskes Drain, both with the assistance of NRCS and federal cost share programs and on his own. Bob sees filter strips as a “way to maintain his ditches.” The filter strip holds the land in place and filters runoff. The grassed waterways control erosion and minimize gully formation. Less soil getting into the drain requires less maintenance in and around the drain. Bob also feels that filter strips and grassed waterways are part of the “total package” for proper manure management in the field.
Dave is a hog farmer in Allegan County who has been farming for 25 years. Dave installed fifty feet of grass filter strip border on both sides of Macatawa River tributary ditches that carry storm water runoff through his farm fields. He also installed a grassed waterway in combination with the filter strip.
“These ditches carry runoff from my farm as well as several hundred acres of surrounding farmland,” states Dave. “During periods of heavy rain the ditches would swell over their banks, causing soil loss from erosion as the water cut through the crop field. In addition to flooding, there would also be sediment deposited over the crops. The filter strips reduce soil erosion along the ditch banks and funnel the water, preventing it from short cutting over the crop field. The grassed waterway prevents erosion that caused a gully to form. It is now easier to farm the field because we can drive farm equipment through the waterway.”
Henry is a farmer in Allegan County. Henry installed a grassed waterway with a vegetative chute to provide a stable outlet. A two-foot deep trench had been created by runoff water flowing into a roadside drainage ditch. The waterway and chute combined will prevent this erosion from recurring during high water flow events from the newly established grass waterway.
Ron Klein also farms in Allegan County. Ron installed a grassed waterway after a meandering deep gully had formed through this field by water gushing out of the woods located up slope. It was difficult, if not impossible, to keep brush and weeds cut along this gully. “Establishment of this grass waterway has made the field easier to farm. We can now keep the waterway mowed and drive farm equipment across it,” states Ron.
Another practice, a diversion, was installed to divert the high rates of storm water runoff away from the newly installed grass waterway for one year, allowing successful vegetation establishment. The diversion was installed and later removed through the CCRP cost share program.
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