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Getting livestock over the swale??

 
Posts: 3374
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I am trying to lay out swales and rotational grazing in our relatively flat pasture. No matter how I try to lay it out, there are LOTS of places where it would be easiest to let the cows cross the swale but not make it into a sill.

Do I turn it into a terrace there (compacted berm) and use a small crossing culvert, or is there a cheaper/simpler way?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3374
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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bump for the weekday crowd, with a followup question.

Does anyone have a way to calculate the crossing pipe size needed for a swale? It isn't like a stream, but you do need to account for some sideways movement in the swale. Pipe prices get expensive FAST.
 
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Have you done any test lines yet to see what kind of flow and water levels you are going to be facing?

Also, what kind of materials do you have access to on your land? A simple gravel embankment can let a surprising amount of water through, which should be more than enough to allow cross feed along a level swale. (My understanding of them is that if they are well placed then the flow is mostly limited to after the rains have stopped and one section naturally drains faster than another.)

What kind of surface stone do you have around? Dry stone 'bridges' need not be complex affairs if all they are doing is letting a bit of water flow under a cow-track.

How are you managing your animal containment anyway to keep the animals from trampling the swale down?
 
R Scott
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I don't think the flow across the swale will be much, but I want to plan for plenty.

Any rock will have to be purchased and brought in. I need to buy lots for various projects, but it is not cheap. Actually, the rock isn't bad but the trucking will kill you.

I think I will use 4" corrugated for most of it. I can put in EIGHT runs of 4" for the price of a single 6." I will bed them in clay, then put some rock over the top for erosion control and traction when wet.
 
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