Digging Deeper into Drainage Tile

Farm4Profit Podcast

24-01-2022 • 1 hr 9 mins

Introduction (Recording 1/10) (Airing 1/24)

  • Thank you for listening
  • Farm4Profit episode vs Farm4Fun Episode
  • Thank you again for suggesting topics for us to talk about on the podcast and keep them coming.  Send those to farm4profitllc@gmail.com or find us all over social media.
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  • Commercial: John Deere

What’s Working in AG (Geringhoff)

  • Craig Lee – Director of Sales for North America
    • Adaptive Flex Technology (AFT) is our newest corn head specially designed for harvesting in terraces and hilly terrains. The AFT head has a pivot point in the center of the frame that gives farmers the flexibility to adapt their corn head to the contours of the land while maximizing yield potentials in difficult landscapes.
    • The AFT is specially designed for maximizing yield potentials when harvesting corn in terraces and hilly terrains.
      • Flex range ± 8 degrees
        • 12 row head = 50” total flex range
        • 16 row head = 68” total flex range
    • Adaptive Flex Technology (AFT) is offered with NorthStar, NorthStar XDC, and Rota Disc processing
  • Geringhoff.  They are head of the class no matter the crop and product to be the anchor partner of the Farm4profit Podcast

PART 2 of Our #1 most requested topic – The field tile exploration (Does it always pay?)

We will see how this goes as it might become a multi-part episode

2nd show – Randy Nessman - master pipe layer

Randy manages a drain tile company currently after working in dairy farming, custom harvesting, spraying, fertilizing, and even building grain handling equipment.  At 19 years old, he joined the local fire department. Giving back to his community is second nature to Randy. Randy relies on this variety of experience when he co-hosts "Off The Husk", a podcast started in October of 2019 with a mission to become a national voice for agriculture. When he’s not working, he spends time with his wife and two boys.

  • Refresher…….
    • What is drainage tile?
      • Drain tile is a system of pipes with perforations or holes that channels water away from intended areas
      • Field tile is tubing, or pipe buried in the ground to convey subsurface water to an outlet such as a stream or ditch
        • Uses Outlets and inlets strategically
  • Why do we install drainage tile?
    • The purpose of subsurface drainage is to lower the water table in the soil.
    • The major reason for installing subsurface drainage is to improve the productivity of the farmland.  Higher yields translate into more returns.
  • Tile is not a luxury, it’s a necessity
    • Is this true
      • Everywhere?
    • How does tile help the customers you work with and your family?
    • Do you know of tile being used in southern regions?
      • Used with orchard crops
      • Used in connection with irrigation
  • Various types of tiling patterns
    • Tile drainage should be designed so the water table between tile lines can be lowered within 24 hours after a rain to a level that will not cause crop injury.

  • The herringbone system (b) consists of parallel tile laterals that enter the main at an angle, usually from both sides. This system is used for long, relatively narrow wet areas such as those next to flat drainageways.
  • The parallel or gridiron system (a) is similar to the herringbone system except that the laterals enter the main from only one side. This system is used on flat, regularly shaped fields with uniform soil types.
  • The double-main system (c) is a modification of the gridiron and herringbone systems. It is used where a depression, which is frequently a natural watercourse, divides the field.
  • A random system (d) is used where the topography is undulating or rolling and contains isolated wet areas.

  • How do you know what style of tile pattern to use on your farm?
    • Who helps with this?
    • Can you pre-plan and install later?
      • Iowa has prairie potholes with very little slope
      • What Software is used – are there different kinds?
        • How are things mapped, planned out, how accurate is this?
  • Various installation methods
    • Plow
    • Trencher
    • Excavator
      • Are there any benefits to one over the other?
      • Could they all be necessary for one job?
  • Covid-19 causing supply chain issues?
    • Tile?
    • Connectors?
    • Other?
      • Transportation delays?
  • Tile Drainage Inspection and Maintenance – if we have tile what should we be doing to make sure we maximize that investment?
    • You should inspect your tile drainage system regularly and conduct maintenance when required.  Prompt repair of any drain failure will keep the system in working order and prevent permanent damage to the entire system.
    • 1)  Inspection – Subsurface drainage systems do not require extensive maintenance, but the maintenance that is required is extremely important. If subsurface drains are working, water will stand in the field for only a short time after a heavy rain. If water stands for a few days, the drain may be partly or completely blocked.
    • 2)  Cleaning outlet ditches – Many subsurface drainage systems fail because outlet ditches are blocked. If the outlet ditch is filled with sediment, a survey should be conducted to determine the extent of the cleanout work.
    • 3)  Cleaning surface inlets – Poorly constructed surface inlets are subject to severe damage and require frequent repair. Inlet covers often become sealed with trash and should be checked frequently.  Clean the covers after a heavy rain and replace them carefully.
    • 4)  Repair blowouts – Holes that have developed over subsurface drains should be repaired at once.  Otherwise, large amounts of soil may wash into the line and block the entire system.
    • 5)  Remove sediment – Sediment traps can be used for subsurface drains laid in fine sand or silty soils.  If cleaned regularly, traps keep soil from filling the lines.
    • 6)  Protect drain outlets – Gullies commonly form at unprotected outlets of subsurface drains. Gullies may damage the field, silt up the drainage ditch and reduce the flow of water from the subsurface drain.
    • 7)  Control rodents – A flap gate or fixed pin guard can be used to prevent rodents and other small animals from entering and blocking outlets.
    • 8)  Control tree roots – Trees such as willow, elm, soft maple, cottonwood and other water-loving trees within approximately 100 feet of the drain should be removed. A clearance of 50 feet should be maintained from other species of trees.
    • 9)  Ochre accumulations in the drain – Ochre, which is an iron oxide, may block the drain when iron in solution moves from the soil to the drain and accumulates.
  • Value of farmland
    • With a little tile
    • With patterned tile
    • With tile maps
      • Tips to keep multiple copies of the maps.
        • Lock box
        • Filed in the abstract
        • Home records
    • With a tile allowance
      • Has this ever been done? Sold saying they have a retained with a tile guy and new owner picks how its done?
      • Any other info?
      • “Our firm completes many farmland appraisals in Illinois. We have seen the value differences and sale price differences between poorly drained farms and farms with typical, average drainage (all with similar Productivity Indexes of 138 and above) vary by as much as 20%. Differences of up to $2,000 are not uncommon in the current market. If you can tile for $1,000 per acre and erase the $2,000 value difference, it is well worth the investment. On the flipside, if you can buy the wet farm for $2,000 per acre less than similar farmland and tile it for $1,000 per acre, you have a good investment.”
  • Any other comments or items you’d like to bring up and share?
  • What do you know now that you wish you would have known sooner?
  • Summary
  • Challenge
  • Reminder to like, rate, and review.  Please don’t hesitate to share the “Mullet of Podcasts” with your friends.  We look forward to sharing more time with you next week on our Farm4Fun Episode
    • We will be in Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show as the Sukup Booth

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