Maintenance is a big line item on any farm. Buildings, fences, equipment. There is always something that needs attention. And coming in just as important, but far less glamourous, is gravel. A farm always has the need for more gravel.
With over 3 miles of private gravel roads at Eden Shale we have plenty of need for gravel. That doesn’t include any areas around barns, winter feeding areas, or cattle watering locations.
We recently had to purchase gravel to work on some of the worst spots of the gravel roads. Last fall we put 10 loads (tri-axle dump trucks) of rock down on the main farm road. This is the corridor that we do all our winter feeding from, requiring more maintenance due to the equipment traffic during those wettest months. 10 loads didn’t even get all the bad spots repaired, but we were able to target the worst areas and get the road back into good shape. If you have been on a tour at the farm, you have been down this main corridor.
This spring we purchased two more loads of rock to repair some steep sections of the gravel road that goes down to a creek bottom where our best hay ground is located. This hill requires attention every spring due to the gravel washing down to the bottom. Usually, I move the gravel back to the top and back drag everything smooth. But this year the ditch had filled in causing the water to jump out on to the drive way and wash the road down to bare dirt. The two loads of rock brought the road back up to existing grade and ready for another hay season of traffic.
A maintenance item that has been needing attention for some time now is the automatic waterers in the paddock section of the farm. There are 22 paddocks with 12 different automatic water tanks. All of the waterers have some level of erosion around them and each one needs gravel added to bring it back up to grade. We ordered 4 loads of rock and used it to get the water tanks back in good condition. It took on average about 6 skid steer buckets of gravel for each water location.
As you can see in the photo, these water tanks had not had any gravel added for quite some time. They are all in good shape now, and should be stable for several years of service.
I know gravel is not very glamourous, but it is necessary to keep a farm in good working order.