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Drainage Benefits

Most Agricultural Drainage Contractors have been installing Drainage Systems at 100' and 90' spacings. These systems are still being installed and have proven to work great. They will continue to be installed but new studies show that tile systems with closer spacings might provide for better economic and enviromental impact to the system. My family business will give the option to install the wider 90' to 100' spacings or the 50' to 70' spacings.

Why do narrower spacings, 50' to 70', 3.5' to 4' deep work better? Because it has better control over the water-table curve, creates more oxygen in the soil and allows the plant more available water in the root zone during the growing (summer months) season. In the dry years there will be less drought stress because of the added soil water storage capacity (water table is higher) while in wet years excess water above the tiles is still removed as quickly and efficiently as it is with deeper drains. This eliminates the YEILD DRAG in between the lines you get at wider spacings.

And shallower tile promotes less loss of nitrogen. At closer spacings and shallower tile, nitrate would be more likely to reach the biologically active but saturated zone and be converted to nitrogen gas by denitrifying bacteria.The conversion of nitrate/nitrogen to nitrogen gas would prevent the nitrate from reaching the pipes and nearby surface waters.

ALSO tighter spacings meet the 1/2" drainage criteria, on 60' centers, 3 1/2' to 4' deep, and provide for EXCELLENT DRAINAGE in silty loam soils which are predominate in most areas of the country.

Of course, all soil conditions aren't universal, but a good rule of thumb is 50' to 70' spacing with the tile at an optimum depth not to exceed 4' deep to the flow line. Why shallower? Call or email me to find out.

How tile spacings help water table management

 

Benefits of Sub-Surface Tile Drainage

Earlier Planting and Harvesting - Excess moisture hampers soil warm-up in the spring. Consistent water table levels throughout the growing season will allow faster, more consistent plant growth for quicker harvest in the fall. On average, spring and fall start-ups happen a week to ten days earlier on farms with adequate drainage.

Deeper Root Growth - Soil particles only bind what can be used. Beyond this point, water table levels become too high and plant root growth will slow or stop completely. Disease susceptibility will also increase. The removal of excess moisture insures continued root growth for better production when moisture is scarce.

Total Field Farming - System drainage does much more than dry up perennially wet areas. Properly spaced sub-surface drains, 50 to 70 feet apart, provide growers with consistency across the farm or field. You no longer have to wait for those stubborn areas at planting and harvest.

Proper Soil Structure - Excess moisture can make your valuable inputs unavailable and cause long term damage to the soil structure. The proper balance of moisture, oxygen and organic matter can more readily be achieved and maintained through proper sub-surface system drainage. Additionally, compaction becomes less of an issue.

Reduced Costs - Your production costs can be decreased through better usage of inputs from your field management plan. Wear and tear on equipment and fuel useage will also decrease as the drainage system helps improve the structure of your soils.

Higher Crop Yields - Drainage systems represent greater production.

Effects of tiliing

Improved Holding Capacity - Your fields can now handle both light and heavy rains better since the system allows the soil profile to hold and utilize more moisture without giving it up to run-off.

Increased Land Value - A well-drained field is more valuable. Your production increases as you make the final step towards maximum production.

 

Drainage and Excavation Work
The Associated General Contractors of America