Lincolnshire Drainage Company (LDC) works across Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, with more than 1,600 repeat customers benefitting from the company’s experience in agricultural and civil drainage schemes.
The company operates a fleet of Mastenbroek trenchers and crawler trucks and at the end of 2022, LDC took delivery of the latest machine, a 30/20 trencher. The two companies have worked together since the beginning, with LDC founder
The company operates a fleet of Mastenbroek trenchers and crawler trucks and at the end of 2022, LDC took delivery of the latest machine, a 30/20 trencher. The two companies have worked together since the beginning, with LDC founder Willem den Hartog being one of John Mastenbroek’s first customers.
“John was a pioneer of agricultural drainage here in the UK,” said Christopher Pett, Mastenbroek’s commercial director. “He came to the UK to sell Dutch-made trenchers to British contractors. However, when he found the area’s soils too challenging for the machines he was promoting, he decided to develop his own range of trenchers and the Mastenbroek brand was born.
“As part of the development work, John spent a lot of time with Willem den Hartog, who also saw the benefits drainage could bring to farmers. LDC and Mastenbroek developed in tandem, and that close relationship continues to this day.”
Over six decades, LDC has put 15 trenchers and gravel carts through their paces and today operates four 30/20 trenchers and five CT12 carts. The CT12 celebrated 40 years on the market in 2022 with a host of upgrades, while the 30/20 has been continually developed since its launch in the 1990s. Many of these updates were suggested by customers, including LDC project manager George Firth.
“LDC has a long-standing relationship with the team at Mastenbroek, stretching back beyond 2006 when my father, David, acquired the business,” said Mr Firth. “As well as working on agricultural drainage, we are undertaking more and more civil work. Our civil customers are constantly looking for new and improved safety features alongside performance. That’s why we asked Mastenbroek to alter the width of the operator walkways on our 30/20s, which they did.
“LDC has always invested in new equipment to ensure our customers receive a cost-effective and efficient job. We hope that the latest 30/20 trencher added to the fleet will provide more productivity for our drainage teams. As it features the new Hagglunds chain drives and increased higher horsepower, it should certainly be faster than the previous version.”
All of the 30/20 machines run by LDC feature GPS depth control, a system developed by Mastenbroek, Trimble and Farm Works Software in conjunction with the contracting firm.
“We were the first contractor in Europe to use GPS depth control on agricultural drainage projects,” added Mr Firth. “The latest software version is installed on all our trenchers and delivers precise level control. This allows us to accurately lay our drains ‘on grade’ to the correct levels in the field, digging only to the required depth and allowing us to use the required amount of aggregates.
“We achieve this by surveying every drain individually with the trencher. This will appear on a screen in the cab for the operator to see, allowing them to see where there are any lower areas. Therefore we can use aggregates more effectively, directly targeting each low area for the maximum effect each time.
“The GPS system is far better than the old laser system introduced in the 1970s. It is more accurate for depth control of the trench. It requires less labour in the field and automatically records each job as it goes, which means we can produce more precise plans once the work has been carried out. The system is also less susceptible to weather, so we can work when the elements are against us.”
Since the company was established, LDC has advocated the benefits of well-drained land for farmers. The company employs 20 people but is considering recruiting more as the order book continues to grow, with work stretching into 2024.
“Farming well-drained agricultural land is a priceless asset to any arable farmer,” concluded Mr Firth. “Well-drained land leads to increased yields, extended growing period, lower harvesting costs and lower drilling and cultivation costs.
“Land drainage is a long-term investment in your land, so schemes must be considered carefully. That’s why we employ independent land drainage consultants to recommend schemes that are best for the customer.”