Sustainable farming charity LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has issued advice to farmers and growers looking to manage water more effectively in the wake of the wettest winter for a century.
- Walk fields and waterways (where possible) in extreme conditions, as some issues only show up during extreme weather
- Maintain existing drains to ensure they are free-flowing and that outflows into ditches are not blocked
- Manage drainage ditch clearance to ensure optimum water quality levels and to encourage wildlife
- Consider establishing field scrapes or reed beds
- Monitor water quality at field drain outlets
- Develop field drainage maps and keep them updated with any changes, such as new drains or outlets
- Avoid draining environmentally valuable wetland areas and meadows.
LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond said: "Unfortunately the heavy rainfall we have experienced this winter is becoming a more frequent occurrence.
"It is vital, therefore, that farmers are given the right support to help them prepare for such events, so improving their ability to manage and recover from them when they do occur."
A video and printable guide on sustainable farm water management are available from the LEAF website.