Here are some of the frequently asked questions at Hodgman Drainage, Inc.

How will drainage help my farming operation?

Subsurface (tile) Drainage helps farming operations in many ways. From earlier planting because soils warm-up and dry faster in the spring to increased root growth due to adequately drained soils. The practice of subsurface drainage has been around for many years. Although it was mainly used in low areas that were hard to farm, it is now known to increase crop yields in almost all soil types. Typical subsurface drainage systems are now placed at 50’ to 60’ spacings to increase crop production. This system is commonly known as pattern tiling.

How will closer tile spacings help my field?

Closer pattern tile spacing can allow shallower depths. Pattern tiling in the past was placed as far apart as 100’. With this wide tile spacing, tile had to be dug in 4.5’ to 5’ deep. This caused a delay in response time and wetness between the tile lines. With 50’ to 60’ spacings, tile can be placed at depths from 3.25’ to 3.75’ deep causing a fast response time. This faster response time will help root development and formability of the ground.

What size drain tile does my field need?

Generally fields that are pattern tiled at 50’ to 60’ spacings require 4” drain tile for laterals and 5” all the way to 15” corrugated pipe for tile mains which laterals drain into. Larger sizes of corrugated and smooth wall tile are also installed as tile mains.

Does tile drainage increase downstream flooding?

Tile drainage typically reduces both volume and peak of surface runoff from fields. Flooding is generally dependent on peak surface runoff rates. Because tile drainage tends to decrease peak runoff rates, it suggests that tile drainage should not increase, and may decrease, flooding.

How will tile drainage help me economically?

The level of yield increase for a given year depends greatly on how poorly drained the soil was prior to drainage. Typical yield increases may be 10 to 30 bushels of corn per acre and 5 to 10 bushels of soybeans per acre. Most drainage systems can return the cost of investment in 3 to 10 years.

Will drain tile cause problems in a dry year?

Even in dry years, it is typically wet in the spring. Drying the ground out earlier will help with earlier planting times. It will also allow the plant roots the ability to push down deeper toward the water table. Tile lines only draw the gravitational water out of the soil. Plant ready moisture that the soil has absorbed is still available to the plant.