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to more disappointment as to the effects of drainage than any other circumstances connected with it. The injury from this cause does not extend to a great depth, and in the Northern States it would always be overcome by the frosts of a single winter; as has been before stated, it is confined to stiff clay soils, but as these are the soils which most need draining, the warning given is important. .
WHAT DRAINING COSTS.
Draining is expensive work. This fact must be accepted as a very stubborn one, by every man who proposes to undertake the improvement. There is no royal road to tile-laying, and the beginner should count the cost at the outset. A good many acres of virgin land at the West might be bought for what must be paid to get an efficient system of drains laid under a single acre at home. Any man who stops at this point of the argument will probably move West,-or do nothing.
Yet, it is susceptible of demonstration that, even at the West, in those localities where Indian Corn is worth as much as fifty cents per bushel at the farm, it will pay to drain, in the best manner, all such land as is described in the first chapter of this book as in need of draining, Arguments to prove this need not be based at all on cheapness of the work; only on its effects and its permanence.
In fict, so far as draining with tiles is concerned, cheapness is a delusion and a snare, for the reason that it implies something less than the best work, a compromise between excellence and inferiority. The moment that we come down from the best standard, we introduce a new element into the calculation. The sort of tile draining which it is the purpose of this work to advocate is a system so complete in every particular, that it may be considered as an absolutely permanent improvement. During the first years of the working of the drains, they will require more or less attention, and some expense for repairs; but, in well constructed work, these will be very slight, and will soon cease altogether. In proportion as we resort to cheap devices, which imply a neglect of important parts of the work, and a want of thoroughness in the whole, the expense for repairs will increase, and the duration of the usefulness of the drains will diminish.
Drains which are permanently well made, and which will, practically, last for all time, may be regarded as a good investment, the increased crop of each year, paying a good interest on the money that they cost, and the money being still represented by the undiminished value of the improvement. In such a case the draining of the land may be said to cost, not $50 per acre, but the interest on $50 each year. The original amount is well invested, and brings its yearly dividend as surely as though it were represented by a five-twenty bond. With badly constructed drains, on the other hand, the case is quite different. In buying land which is subject to no loss in quantity or quality, the farmer considers, not so much the actual cost, as the relation between the yearly interest on the cost, and the yearly profit on the crop, knowing that, a hundred years hence, the land will still be worth his money. But if the land were bounded on one side by a river which yearly encroached some feet on its bank, leaving the field a little smaller after each freshet; or if, every spring, some rods square of its surface were sure to be covered three feet deep with stones and sand, so that the actual value of the property became every year less, the purchaser would compare the yearly value of the crops, not only with the interest on the price, but, in addition to this, with so much of the prime value as yearly disappears with the destruc. tion of the land. It is exactly so with the question of the cost of drainage. If the work is insecurely done, and is liable, in five years or in fifty, to become worthless; the increase of the crops resulting from it, must not only cover the yearly interest on the cost, but the yearly depreciation as well. Therefore what may seem at the time of doing the work to be cheapness, is really the greatest extravagance. It is like buiding a brick wall with clay for mortar. The bricks and the workmanship cost full price, and the small saving on the mortar will topple the wall over in a few years, while, if well cemented, it would have lasted for centuries. The cutting and filling of the ditches, and the purchase and transportation of the tiles, will cost the same in every case, and these constitute the chief cost; if the proper care in grading, tile-laying and covering, and in making outlets be stingily withheld,—saving, perhaps, one-tenth of the expense, what might have been a permanent improvement to the land, may disappear, and the whole outlay be lost in ten years. A saving of ten per cent. in the cost will have lost us the other ninety in a short time. But, while cheapness is to be shunned, economy is to be sought in every item of the work of draining, and should be studied, by proprietor and engineer, from the first examination of the land, to the throwing of the last shovelful of earth on to the filling of the ditch. There are few operations connected with the cultivation of the soil in which so much may be imperceptibly lost through neglect, and carelessness about little details, as in tile-draining. In the original levelling of the ground, the adjustment of the lines, the establishing of the most judicious depth and inclination at each point of the drains, the disposition of surface streams during the prosecution of the work, and in the width of the excavation, the line which divides economy and wastefulness is extremely narrow and the most constant vigilance, together with the best judgment and foresight, are needed to avoid unnecessary cost. In the laying and covering of the tile, on the other hand, it is best to disregard a little slowness and unnecessary care on the part of the workmen, for the sake of the most perfect security of the work. Details of Cost,--The items of the work of drainage may be classified as follows: 1. Engineering and Superintendence. + 2. Digging the ditches. ( 3. Grading the bottoms. 4. Tile and tile-laying. 5. Covering the tile and filling the ditches. 6. Outlets and silt-basins. 1. Engineering and Superintendence.—It is not easy to say what would be the proper charge for this item of the work. In England, the Commissioners under the Drainage Acts of Parliament, and the Boards of Public Works, fix the charge for engineering at $1.25 per acre. That is in a country when the extent of lands undergoing the process of draining is very great, enabling one person to superintend large tracts in the same neighborhood at the same time, and with little or no outlay for travelling expenses. In this country, where the improvement is, thus far, confined to small areas, widely separated; and where there are comparatively few engineers who make a specialty of the work, the charge for services is necessarily much higher, and the amount expended in travelling much greater. In most cases, the proprietor of the land must qualify himself to superintend his own operations, (with the aid of a country surveyor, or a railroad engineer in the necessary instrumental work.) As draining becomes more general, the demand for professional assistance will, without doubt, cause local engineers to turn their attention to the subject, and their services may be more cheaply obtained. At present, it would probably not be prudent to