Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Farmer's Gonna Farm

That little section of wooded stream is on my morning commute, and it has been home to skunks, possums, coons, rabbits, squirrels, and foxes for all the years I have driven by it.  The field was tiled recently, and after tiling was done the track-hoes and a bulldozer remained.

I sure don't mind if a farmer tiles a field.  This field is an A slope, (0 to 5%) and very clayey.  It stays wet and is hard to farm in the spring, so crops go in late.  Then they have to deal with summer drought and heat after a late start.  This week the farmer cleared the streambanks.  It measured out less than two acres, but it was a nice little section of wildlife habitat that also protected the streambank and field from erosion.

What most people do not see is that landowners both up and downstream from this little project will see increased erosion now.  Floodwaters will move through here more easily, effectively changing the gradient of this section.  The effect can be far-reaching; in this case it will affect the upstream landowners more, because it is located at the upper end of a glacial lakebed where the gradient becomes small.  If I hadn't been watching fox-kits every spring as I go by, this would not bother me so much, I guess.  When you see farmers lighting off brush piles with their used tires you can realize that they probably don't give two hoots about the World we live in, in spite of what outfits like Farm Bureau and the USDA want you to believe.


B said...

Plus it makes the wind change significantly.

Joe Mama said...

I am not disagreeing to be disagreeable.

But high vegetation that shades the ground kills grasses and forbes that are very effective at knitting the soil together with their millions of thready roots.

And while those trees do shade the stream in the summer and locally lower the water temperature, they drop leaves into the stream in the fall and decomposing leaves can deplete the dissolved oxygen to fatal levels for fish and such.

Would you consider taking some photos in August to show how the bed recovers? It may be absolutely buried in 24" tall willow suckers and grape vines.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

You are arguing FOR clearing timbered stream banks? Well, some people hate me for helping folks harvest trees, and others hate me for helping people plant trees. It is wildlife habitat gone. Water will move faster. An easy way to handle places like this is to burn them off every few years. You get all the grasses and forbes on the ground that belong there, plus the trees keep their billions of meticulations of their roots in place, plus you get a greater variety of woody plants.

This place will pop back up in willow sprouts, no doubt. A soakdown in suitable herbicides will be the next step.