GOODFIELD, Ill. — Installing tile in a field will take away
excess moisture and increase the speed of removing the water.
“Tiling does not take out any more moisture than natural
drainage,” said Aaron Friedlein, product manager for Ag Leader Technology. “The
field capacity is the amount of moisture left in the soil profile after natural
drainage has ended.”
To develop the design of a tiling system, including the size
of the tile and where to put it in a field, Friedlein said, it is important to
determine the drainage coefficient.
“That is the amount of water that you want to remove from a
field in a 24-hour period,” he explained during the “Where Technology Meets
Dirt” Road Tour.
“For many field crops, the drainage coefficient is
three-eights to a half inch of excess moisture removed in a 24-hour period,” he
explained. “For specialty crops, it is from 1 to 2 inches because these crops
don’t grow well with wet feet.”
Ag Leader offers tools for farmers to assist with water
management on their farms.
“Advancements in technology have removed some of the
previous limiting factors for doing your own tiling,” Friedlein said. “These
tools allow you to do tiling on your schedule and get your farms in shape so
they can be more productive long term.”
The ideal soil composition is 45 percent plant material, 25
percent water, 25 percent air and 5 percent organic matter, he noted.
“When there is moisture being held in the soil profile in
the springtime, the corn plants will have shallow roots,” he said. “In tiled
fields, the roots go down to get the moisture and then you have larger root mass
and deeper roots.”
Some farmers are concerned they don’t have enough time to do
tiling projects for their fields.
“You can invest time in putting in tile so that in future
years you have more time to get the crop in and out of the field,” Friedlein
said. “If you invest time up front, then you will have easier logistics down the
Cost of a tiling project can deter the completion of the
“You pay for tile whether you have it installed or not
because you lose yield on fields not tiled,” Friedlein said.
“I’ve seen studies of up to a 40-bushel per acre gain with
tiling, and at $4 per bushel, that’s $160 per acre in gained revenue from
tiling,” he said. “You’ll enjoy that 40-bushel gain year after year, although
some years it will be bigger than others.”
Ag Leader’s SMS Software can be used to help design tiling
“Our software looks at information like elevation, size of
tiles and how much area is coming into the main,” Friedlein said. “It provides
you exact numbers.”
For example, he said, the computer program will examine the
soil texture throughout the soil profile of the field.
“It gives you a warning if the velocity is too slow,” he
added. “That helps you make sure you install a proper tile system.”
Ag Leader provides several opportunities for training to
assist farmers with their projects.
“We have support available to help you with your questions,”
Friedlein said. “We also have training resources on the Internet including
YouTube videos, and we offer webinars.”
“We’ve worked hard the last couple of years to build a
dealer network that understands our tile plow and can teach you how to use the
plow,” said Joe Klaus, as he talked about the Soil-Max Gold Digger Stealth ZD.
“Within two days of owning the plow, you’ll be comfortable.”
The major difference between the Soil-Max tile plow and
other plows, Klaus said, is the design of the shank.
“Our plow cuts through the ground and lifts the soil profile
for the entire depth of the cut,” he explained.
“Because of the design of the plow, we pull at least 40
percent easier than any other plow on the market,” he claimed.
Farmers can use the Gold Digger to install four-, six-,
eight- or 10-inch tile, and they only have to change three components to switch
to different size tile.
“You change the shear that forms the trench, the sides that
help form the trench and the boot,” Klaus explained.
“One of the big differences that separates us from the rest
of the market is the tile plow was designed at the same time as the software
that guides it,” he noted.
For more information about Ag Leader Technology, see