I am making parallel ridges for alfalfa, sending a full head of water
down to the end of the field between each ridge. Should I calculate the
lands to be mowed one at a time in even swaths? The mower being 5-foot
cut, would you count on cutting a 4 1/2 or 5-foot swath? This soil is
sandy, water percolating rapidly. The fall is 8 feet to the mile. How
wide, then, would you advise making the ridges to suit the mower, and to
flood economically, using from 2 to 4 cubic feet per second? The length
of the lands is across 40 acres.
Growing alfalfa in long parallel checks, to be flooded between the
levees, is the way in which much alfalfa is being put in at the present
time where the land has such a slope as you indicate. It is calculated,
however, to seed the levees as well as the check bottoms, and to run the
mowers across the levees, thus leaving no waste land and mowing across
the whole field and not between the levees as you propose. For that
purpose these levees are made low, not over a foot in height,
calculating that they will settle to about six or eight inches, which is
sufficient to hold the water and direct its flow gently down the slope.
There is, however, a limit to the distance over which water can be
evenly distributed in this way, the difference being dependent upon the
character of the soil, slope, etc. A length of nine hundred feet is
sometimes found too great for an even distribution, and, for this
reason, supply ditches at shorter intervals are introduced.
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