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Mole Plough

How to mole plough for optimum benefits. Mole drainage, when completed correctly on the right type of soil type can assist in reducing problems of waterlogging To help farmers get the most from the process there is a need for farmers to understand how to mole plough and construct effective mole drains.

Wet winter soils are a common problem in parts of the United kingdom and surface drainage has potential to improve the situation by removing excess surface water. For greatest impact the profile of the soil profile needs to be drained so that crops and pastureshave the capability to reach their potential and stock damage through compaction and treading can be reduced.

Mole drainage is widely used on heavy soils to improve productivity of pastures and crops in this article we consider How To Mole Plough

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How To Mole Plough

What is a mole drain?

In there simplest form mole drains are unlined channels formed in a clay subsoil. They are created by a ripper blade with a cylindrical foot, often featuring an expander which helps compact the channel wall. Mole drains are most often used when the natural drainage of the land needs improving due to

  • Lack of slope – the degree of slop is complex and beyond the scop of this article
  • A heavy clay subsoil which prevents natural downward drainage
  • Mole drains are more sophisticated than open drains.
  • Importantly mole drains do not drain away groundwater but only surface water that enters from above.

Mole Plough – Most appropriate soils for mole ploughing

  • For mole ploughing to be effective soils should have a minimum of thirty five percent for optimum results. The clay mix gives the soil the ability to stay together and minimise the chance of collapse once the mole is pulled.
  • Sand content should be less than thirty percent.
  • It is best if the soil should is free of stones specifically at the mole drain depth.

Simple test to evaluate suitability for mole draining

There are two simple tests that can be conducted to establish if a soil is suitable for mole drainage:

  1. Roll out a pencil thick rod and try to form a forty to fifty mm diameter circle at the mole draining depth. If this can be completed without crackling or crumbling the soil might be suitable for mole draining.
  2. An alternative test is to find out if the soil at mole drain depth will slake or disperse.
    • Take some soil and create some golf ball size balls that can be placed in a jar of distilled water or rain water. Over a couple of days keep a visual check on the water. Cloudy water indicates a dispersive soil which are susceptible to tunnel erosion and therefore should not be mole drained.
    • If the soil ball falls apart quickly then it is has a tendency to slake, this is good as these soils may be successfully gravel mole drained (actually a gravel slot) albeit expensively.

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