Alberta Cereals and Oilseeds

Fixing Sloughs With Landforming & Strategic Ditches

Location: Alberta, Canada
Field Area: 140 acres or 57 hectares
Irrigation Method: None/Rainfed
Crops: Cereals and Oilseeds

Figure 1. Satellite image of the field showing ponded areas and depressions.


The field is located in Canada with large depressions scattered all over the field. The had farmer tried adding ditches to connect the ponding areas but still ponds as shown below.

Figure 2. Existing Topography (left) and Existing Drainage Analysis (right). Drag the slider left or right to view each.


The Existing Topography shows scattered ponding areas that need to be joined up and drained to one single exit point at the northeast corner.

The OptiSurface 4Way was used to design the field.  This surface type lets water meander across the field and exit to the boundaries, but ridge subzones were added around the edges of the field to force water to exit to the northeast corner only.

Ditches were strategically placed and manually designed to through ridges where required. An explanation of how to design these into the surface is shown in the video below.

Figure 3 shows the final landform design.

Figure 3. Existing Topography (left) and Proposed Topography (right). Drag the slider left or right to view each.

Figure 4 shows the Cut/Fill Map. Most of the cuts are for connecting up the ponding areas and filling them up to get to drain.

Calculated earthworks (cut volume) on average is only 166 m³/ha.

Figure 4. Proposed Cut/Fill Map.

Figure 5 shows how water drains and exit to the northeast corner.

Figure 5. Proposed Flow Paths


This example shows how OptiSurface Landforming can be used in applications with deep depressions which is common through the pot hole region of northern USA and Canada. The design has maximized the cropping area of the field with minimal earthworks.

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