A swale is a ditch on contour used to harvest rainwater, stop it, and allow it to passively soak into the landscape over time. This feature, when installed properly, can control erosion by slowing and stopping rainwater at periodic distances across the landscape. They control flooding by regulating and slowing the flow of runoff water into waterways. Swales rehydrate the landscape by holding up the water and allowing it to gently soak into the ground.
The mound produced by digging the ditch can be used to plant trees and offers a way to break up grazing land into useful sizes for grazing cells or paddocks. If one chooses to plant trees on the mounds, as I have, there will be plenty of shade for better grass and a place for your animals to escape the sun, wind, and even rain and be more comfortable.
On the farm, water is a valuable resource. Shouldn't we be trying to keep it on the farm for as long as possible? The video series below demonstrates how I dig my swales with a bulldozer. Enjoy!