With the amount of rain we’ve received lately, you could be looking for a solution to save your farm from waterlogging. You may even have been expecting and praying for high rainfall this season for the proper growth of your crops. But, it seems the blessings are too much for the crops to handle.
While that may or may not be your case, you should keep one thing in our mind – rains may bring good benefits to our crops but they also have their own disadvantages.
Waterlogging is one of them and it’s more frequent in some parts of the country where farming is becoming difficult to manage as farms are usually flooded in the rainy season. We will therefore discuss some of the prevention measures farmers in Zambia take to prevent waterlogging.
1. What is waterlogging?
Waterlogging is an environmental condition where the soil becomes flooded with too much water than it can absorb. This often causes the soil to lack the oxygen your plants need to grow. It starts by destroying the soil and its nutrients, thereby depriving the crops from growing.
2. Prevention of Waterlogging
There is not much you can do if it comes to natural causes of waterlogging such as heavy rainfall. However, you can try and reduce the effect caused on the crops after the rains.
i. Farming Techniques
As a farmer, you have a responsibility to ensure you prepare for heavy rains. To this effect, you must do everything possible within your capacity to ensure waterlogging doesn’t negatively affect your crops. This includes checking and assessing the soil of the land you are planning on planting your crops on.
Soil with a high clay content is not ideal to combat waterlogging as it retains water thereby, encouraging waterlogging. Therefore, as you are checking for the soil content of your land, ensure the soil contains less clay.
ii. Growing crops on raised beds
Although this method is very involving and can be quite stressful for the farmer, it actually provides a good preventive measure for waterlogging. Once you plant your crops on raised beds a clear passage of water will be created and after the rains, water will easily pass through the crops and drain elsewhere.
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3. Dealing with waterlogged farms
You can use mulch to help keep more water absorbed. By placing organic mulch on the surface of the soil, more water will be significantly absorbed. This is a good strategy for dealing with waterlogging as it enables you the farmer to kill two birds with one stone. When it gets too hot, the mulch keeps the soil cool.
Examples of some good types of organic mulch are dried shredded leaves and sawdust.
ii. Drainage system
You can also build proper infrastructure to help drain the excess water away from your farm every time it rains. Your aim here should be to discourage water from settling in one place on your farm.
Create efficient irrigation drainage and canals as a system that allows water to flow through. You can start by creating narrow drains that lead away from your farm area. These drains don’t have to be too deep or wide to disrupt the farm situation.
Lastly, you may also need to consider unblocking essential water passages leading away from the farm. Some waterlogged areas are as a result of soil or land blockages that prevents water from leaving the area.