As we turn towards the fall harvest, take time to consider how services from Gravel Grading and Excavating can ensure the most bountiful harvest possible.
There are so many things beyond a farmer’s control when it comes to high yield and successful seasons. While we certainly can’t predict the weather and we can’t make it rain, we love to help farmers make water work with them. Whether you want on to hold water or move it along, we can make a custom plan for you.
Many farms have streams, creeks, or rivers running through. Vegetation tends to grow along these paths. Water can cut steep banks through farmland.
These can create challenges for farmers. Eventually these waterways encroach on valuable farmland. The moving water increases erosion and destroys valuable topsoil. It can be difficult on machinery to cross waterways. Shaping or reshaping waterways can help ease these difficulties and use waterways to your advantage.
Read more about waterway shaping in this post about a farm near Monticello.
One way we can prevent erosion is with gabion baskets. Surely you have seen large rocks and concrete chunks, or rip rap, along waterways. Gabion baskets add the extra benefit of a wire structure to hold the rocks in place. They sometimes hold sand or gravel as well. This tool helps slow the erosion of topsoil.
Learn more about gabion baskets in this installation post from 2019.
The main purpose of a retention pond is to conserve water by holding it in place. There are added recreational and aesthetic benefits as well.
Learn the difference between retention and detention ponds in this post.
We do a lot of ag tile installation and for good reason: It is an excellent tool for removing standing water from fields. With water on farm fields, there can certainly be too much of a good thing. Crops do not like wet roots and this can lead to disease and rot. Installing tile beneath the surface of your field can help distribute water more efficiently for healthy crops year round.
Learn more about ag tile in this detailed post.
As always, contact us with your agricultural grading and excavating needs. We love to work with farmers.
Proper site preparation is an important but often overlooked first step of new construction. Be sure that your new structure’s foundation is set on a strong foundation!
There is a lot of work to be done before the building can begin. We have the experience to be sure your project has a smooth start and stays strong for years to come.
First, out with the old.
We clear any existing structures with demolition and tree grubbing. We offer disposal of those items as well.
Next it is time to smooth the earth. This is different for every structure. Something giant like a pole building will require an expanse of level ground.
Your new home build may require some more finesse. In addition to building a basement, we move earth to accommodate walk-out basements or retaining walls.
We plan ahead for the big build, making sure that all service and supply vehicles are able to access the project easily.
All of these checklist items are completed with the future in mind. We think ahead to control erosion and drainage. We are sure to compact the earth so it can hold your new structure.
Are you ready to get started on your big build? Call us at Gravel Grading and Excavating to prepare your site for sturdy structures.
At Gravel Grading and Excavating in Cascade, Iowa, we provide a broad spectrum of services. Have you considered us for summer recreation?
We have many ways to make your summer even more memorable such as
Let us share some recent work we’re proud to put our name on.
Our equipment and expertise can create a pond from scratch. What a great addition to your acreage whether you enjoy fishing, swimming, or just relaxing by the water.
Unfortunately, there is much more work to do than just dig a hole. Fortunately, we understand the scope of work and can make your dream a reality.
Ponds do require some maintenance which we are happy to provide. If you already have a pond on your property, or if you have a body of water running by, we can help make it more accessible and safe with streambank stabilization.
We worked on this lake to make it more accessible for water sport and recreation. The bank is much stronger and attractive. You can see an improvement in the water quality as well.
Many properties have hidden gems that have fallen into disrepair. Help your property work to its full potential by reconstructing existing pond projects.
Enjoy your time out on the water with pond projects that are beautiful, relaxing, and safe. Contact us to get your project on the books.
Gravel Grading and Excavating in Cascade, Iowa has always provided a broad range of excavating and grading services. This usually requires huge machines, but this spring we have added a tiny new addition to our fleet: A pipe inspection camera.
Not unlike a remote-controlled car, we are able to maneuver our camera through difficult to reach spaces. Established plumbing can be difficult to reach whether it is far underground, or covered by existing structures. We are now able to make a visual assessment of systems and excavate only where needed.
Even our best systems can find trouble over time. Aging plumbing systems can suffer from:
Check out our Facebook page for a pipe inspection video, and contact us when you are ready to start a video inspection of your own.
Have you considered having ag drainage tile installed in your fields?
We at Gravel Grading and Excavating are excited about spring too. We want to help you get into the fields faster, boost yields, and ease the stress of ridiculous Iowa weather. Our ag tile installation allows us to assist in all of these areas.
We’re happy to meet with you and design a strategy that best meets your needs. Tile can be arranged in patterns or just spots in your fields and pastures to give you more dependable, consistent yields by controlling water across your crops.
Ag tile prevents standing water in your fields which has several benefits. First, you will have easier and earlier field access, even in wet springs. When we get a wet fall, the tile will still be at work, spreading water more evenly and eliminating a muddy mess.
When plants are spoiled with a wet spring, their roots don’t have to work as hard to reach water. Then, in the summer, a shallow root system means they can suffer in dry, hot weather. Keeping crops out of standing water in the spring will give them deeper root systems.
Disease travels quickly among plants with “wet feet.” Ag tile can prevent plant disease, especially fungi that love a wet environment.
All of these benefits will boost yields as you farm in the future, and boost the value of your property when you are ready sell. Get in touch with our Gravel Grading & Excavating crew this spring as you consider agricultural drainage tile or our other farm services.
Winter can be slow for seasonal businesses like ours. When the frost sets in the ground and our equipment has a tough time breaking the surface, you may think we pack up our machinery and head indoors to hibernate for those cold months.
In fact, we find winter to be one of our busier times of the year, as we not only perform routine maintenance on our tractors, skidsteers, dozers, and excavators, but some of our services can still take place during the winter season.
Want to know what keeps us busy in the wintertime?
During this “slow” season our first order of business is to assess the wear and tear on our equipment. We perform routine cleaning and waxing to protect the exterior surfaces of the machinery, but in some cases, like with our bulldozer, we tear off all the pans to blow out built-up dirt and sand to keep the internal parts running in top shape. This preventative maintenance allows us to remedy any problems we come across while we are in a slower work time, keeping us from breaking down during high-demand months in spring and summer.
Each year we also perform large-scale rehabilitation on our older models. If you’ve followed our social media pages or our "What's New?" blog for some time, you’ve seen last winter’s John Deere tractor cab renovation. Jobs like this are common in the winter months when we have time to tackle larger-scale jobs that will span several days.
Winter weather can be hard on below-ground piping due to the repeated freezing and thawing of the earth. These cycles can cause dirt and sediment to shift and cause cracks and breaks in water and sewer lines. Repairing these lines for residential and commercial property owners is one of our most important off-season jobs, so these small inconveniences don’t turn into major problems. When situations such as these arise, our crew can come in with our small equipment to trench small swaths through the property and replace small sections of the piping to get systems back to functioning condition as quickly as possible.
Stream Bank Stabilization
In the winter months when the ground is firm and frozen, many of our services grind to a halt, but we can still perform some of our soil erosion prevention services, such as stream bank stabilization. In these jobs, we work to push back the banks along water ways like rivers and streams to stabilize the surrounding property and reduce topsoil loss. Our crew cuts back the bank to an optimal water flow grade and reinforces the new grade with large rocks and blocks of concrete. We also seed the ground to support plant growth and root systems to hold the dirt in place.
Snow Removal and Salt Spreading
One of our busiest wintertime projects is clearing sidewalks, driveways, and roadways for our loyal customers. When the snow and ice flies, we move in to keep you and your loved ones safe by removing snow and spreading salt, lime, and ice melt.
Wintertime work keeps us busy from December through March, and though the winter months can be long, we're excited to welcome the long days of summertime very soon.
Happy Halloween Gravel Grading and Excavating fans! Tis the season for stories that send a shiver up
your spine and leave you feeling a little unsettled. Halloween is all about a little bit of a scare, right?
We have all the spooky stories about septic backups and (dare I say it) top soil erosion!
So settle in with some candy, light a fire, and get ready for some scary stories.
Spooky Story #1:
First up is a story that will have you checking your septic system every day and even through the night.
Typically when septic professionals open the lid to a septic tank, there’s a 10-inch air gap, but during one
inspection, the home inspector found herself looking into a tank filled to the brim with wastewater.
When the inspector walked out to the drain field, where wastewater from a septic tank is slowly
released underground, she found a massive green and black puddle.
“The scary thing was, there were boats and toys in the water,” the inspector says, indicating that the
family’s kids had been playing in that spot.
The homeowner mentioned that the puddle had been there since the last rain – two months prior to the
“I had to explain that was no puddle,” the inspector says. “It was wastewater surfacing and she didn’t
want to let her kids play in it. She was horrified.”
Now that’s a scary situation!
To avoid this happening to you, be sure to pump out your septic system regularly. Timeframes depend on number of people in your household and volume of water used. If your septic system is in need of repair or replacement, contact our crew before it’s too late.
Spooky Story #2:
This is a short and not-so-sweet story that some farmers know all too well.
Soil erosion can lead to lost topsoil that you can never get back.
This equates to potential loss of yield for farmers and investment for property owners. Lost top soil can also lead to inefficiencies with your equipment, inconsistency of input placement, and lost dollars. The effects of soil erosion go beyond the loss of fertile land. It has led to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, clogging these waterways and causing declines in fish and other species too. Degraded lands are also often less able to hold onto water, which can increase flooding too.
Contact our crew at Gravel Grading & Excavating to install ag tile, waterways, and detention
ponds to preserve your precious dirt.
Don’t let your Fall and Winter months get scary, contact our crew today so you don't become the next scary story we share with our followers!
Over the past few years, we’ve shared a lot about our passions and projects, but this month we wanted to bring it back to the basics to share what our business is all about. Our crew at Gravel Grading and Excavating has been moving earth for two decades. We provide a broad spectrum of residential, commercial, and agricultural grading and excavating services to Cascade and the surrounding areas. From site preparation, to sewer and septic installation, and tile and drainage of farm fields, our crew is prepared to do just about anything for you!
Most of the year, our crew is busy with any number of projects. Our residential and commercial jobs center around foundation work, septic, leveling ground, and grading.
In the agricultural sector, our crew works closely with farmers helping with erosion control measures and ag tiling. Some of our favorite work has been with pond building and dredging in rural areas.
During the off season, you can find us in the shop completing routine maintenance, fixing equipment, or doing snow removal for local businesses and people.
Our crew is passionate about the work we do for all our clients, but particularly those with local farmers and ag workers. The agricultural industry is essential to our community and they work hard to provide for others each and every day; our crew loves completing projects that make farmers’ jobs easier and more efficient.
Give our crew a call today to see how we can move earth for you!
Our crew at Gravel Grading & Excavating is dedicated to moving the earth for our clients and customers. We jump at the opportunity to assist with any project that we can, especially those that consist of waterway or sediment basin work because the efforts can benefit future generations of Iowans. Maintaining a sediment basin or waterway is essential to preserving Iowa’s most precious resource, black dirt topsoil.
To help aid water drainage for a local community in the summer of 2020, our Gravel Grading & Excavating crew was called in to help clean out an existing drainage basin that had reduced efficiency after years of silt/sediment collection. Years of rain events had moved so much dirt into this drainage area, that all you could see of the outlet's 10-foot structure was the cap (pictured below). This told us that it was more than time for the silt basin to be cleaned out.
Sediment basins are ponds with open water that capture coarse sediment and litter carried by stormwater or runoff. They intercept the runoff before it reaches the waterway, and slow it down to allow the coarse sediment to fall to the bottom.This way the cleaner water stays at the top of the pond and flows through the outlet source.
A well-designed sediment basin should be just large enough to allow time to capture most of the target coarse sediment. It should only capture a small amount of finer particles and contaminants, the majority of which should be treated by a constructed wetland or raingarden downstream.
In order to maintain a sediment basin, it needs to be cleaned out regularly, usually every two to five years.
For our project in question, almost 10 feet of outlet pipe had been covered up with sediment over the years. Using our dozer, excavator, and wagons, our crew was able to clean out all the dirt that had settled in, and used it to build up the sides of the existing berm structure. See the photos below to watch our crew unearth and relocate years of sediment.
Our guys then relocated the dirt and shaped the berm and drainage areas to facilitate future runoff and soil preservation efforts.
Contact our team at Gravel Grading & Excavating today to see how we can assist you!
Our winter projects typically consist of cleaning and maintaining equipment and planning for the upcoming year. However, this past winter we decided to tackle a big lake dredging project for a customer. Our dedicated crew spent hours in the cold working to get this job done!
Dredging is the removal of sediment and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water. It is a routine necessity for maintenance of waterways. Over time, the accumulation of sediment and muck reduces water quality and impedes water navigation and recreation. Lake dredging is a tried and true solution that can give years back to your waterbody. There are many benefits of lake dredging including:
Our crew used our long reach excavator to dredge out this lake for our customer. This piece of equipment allows us to cover a wide range of land and lake. Several spots of sediment can be tricky to maneuver with large machines and the extended arm can reach those areas without the risk of getting stuck and losing hours of work time. Once the sediment is removed from one area we move along to the next spot to steadily complete the project. This particular project took our crew a little over a week to complete and the customer was extremely satisfied with the results. If you are needing a lake dredged or have another project in mind, give our crew a call today!
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