Farmers looking for more solutions to deal with excess water in fields

The topic of water management in fields has seen significant growth over the past five years. 

Just ask Steven Gillis, who is an Ag Technology Sales Specialist with Rocky Mountain Equipment.

He says they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of farmers who are looking for solutions to deal with excess water in their fields.

A good example of this happened in northern Alberta last fall.

Gillis says he was talking with producers in the Westlock area recently.

“There’s a lot of guys here dealing with substantial water for the past few years and lost a lot of crop with it,” said Gillis.  “It wasn’t uncommon to see a combine in front of seeding equipment and that’s because of the water last fall that kept them from getting the crop off.”

The conversation may be new in northern Alberta, however the same can’t be said in the eastern prairies.

“When you go into the Winnipeg region, Red River Valley area water management is just part of normal farming practices.  You go west of there to the Saskatchewan – Manitoba border it’s fairly common practice, but not to the same extent it is in central Manitoba.”

Gillis has been holding clinics across the prairies this summer listening to the different problems farmers have been having with excess water and in turn providing answers to how they can deal with it.

Gillis says water management is unique to the region you are in.

“With tiles, if you have clay, it’s a very different solution than if you got light sandy soil.  If you have sandy soil water will move through it very quickly you can place your tile lines further a part and still have an effective solution.  If you have heavy clay and the water can permeate the soil your tile lines need to be closer together that’s something you need to be aware of before you go in there and start doing the installation.”

Excess water in fields can result in delayed seeding which in turn impacts yield, poor root development resulting in soil and nutrient loss and let’s not forget the equipment challenges of getting out into the field and sometimes out of it when there is far too much moisture in the ground.

Gillis says one thing they pride themselves at RME is the ability to work with farmers no matter what brand of equipment they use in the field.

“We can definitely work with anybody. If you are a RME customer and you have all CASE equipment, or you have all New Holland equipment, we definitely have solutions that can work with you, if you have a CAT tractor, Versatile, if it is a John Deere it does not matter, none of our water management solutions are brand specific, they are all fairly generic, we can integrate with almost anything so we are able to provide a very thorough, very comprehensive solution for your water management needs.”

Gillis says he enjoys spending a lot of time working on surface and sub-surface based solutions to help farmers reduce crop loss and seeding time due to wet field conditions.