Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
March 16, 2000

Run Off Needed In Many Areas

Recently we returned from a trip to the southeastern portion of the United States. Several windshield observations were made regarding agriculture, but one observation was more frequent than the others. Dry conditions are wide spread. In fact Interstate 75 near the Georgia-Florida state line was closed due to dense smoke from swamp fires. This strip of concrete became a parking lot in a very short period of time.

Regardless of which state we were traveling through it was very apparent that cleaning, reshaping and removal of the sediment from water holding areas had been completed or was occurring at a continuous and progressive rate. It is generally impossible for this type of construction to occur unless a time of reduced runoff has been virtually nonexistent for some time. On a positive note, for construction of this type of to occur water levels needs to be at a low level so bulldozers, track hoes, draglines or any other earth moving equipment can operate in and around these previous water holding areas. If we get all of these holding areas cleaned we certainly will reduce some of the runoff when the rains do come.

After discussing this issue with heavy equipment operators, they tell me that the soil is definitely moist, but due to the reduced amount of runoff the ponds, lakes and other water basins are at a very low level. The reduction in runoff can be very beneficial for reclaiming water holding areas however, this environmental stress certainly imposes management problems for livestock management while undertaking the long-term improvement in water holding basins.

A word of caution needs to be observed regarding the areas where the sediment removed from the water impoundment basins is being stored. Frequently this location is directly below the pond dam or slightly to one side as a temporary measure. The reason for this frequently used location is this type of sediment, which contains a high level of moisture, is very hard to move from one area to another. Generally moving this accumulation ends up being put on the back burner for some time after the removal of this high moisture containing sediment. Even though the dirt removed appears to be dry, livestock, equipment and humans frequently break though the crust and become bogged down in the muck. Frequently it takes more than one year for the moisture to become reduced to a level that the accumulated dirt can be spread over a field being tilled or pasture area.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - March 16, 2000
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT031600.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004