Drainage is a priority for new farms, with the first course of action being to dig ditches out and cut back hedges, allowing assessment of existing drains.
Generally, it is headland drains which have failed, or old infrastructure systems, as increasingly heavy machinery can break pipes. Headland drains often prolong life to the field if replaced as they take the largest impact from water, machinery and block outfalls resulting in damaged systems.
Soil sampling follows, and pH is corrected if necessary, along with P&K levels. Where there is evidence of compaction, this is addressed with a deep subsoil.
“You can see the difference, after 600mm of rain in winter 2019-20, land that had been in CTF had no standing water, whereas farms that were new to us were waterlogged,” comments James.
Obtaining drone footage can also be revealing for these farms, giving an accurate picture which is more up to date than Google Maps.