Before you begin tiling, Richard Cooke, a University of Illinois ag engineer, offers growers a few pointers:

  • Get training. There is more to designing a drainage system than just going out and saying, “OK, we are going to put tile here, here and here.” Several Midwestern universities offer drainage workshops, and online information, such as the Illinois Drainage Guide:
  • Surveyeach fieldtopographically. Cooke says yield-monitoring systems with RTK are equipped to gather topographical information. The survey should include critical features such as pipelines, fences, towers, etc. “Nothing should take you by surprise when you are inthe field tiling.”
  • If you are usea laser, check the calibration at every setup to avoid surveying errors. 
  • Avoid the temptation to laytile from upstream to downstream. “It’s easier to make corrections if you’rerunning up the slope,” says Cooke. 
  • Go slowly. Give the machine time to adjust to any corrections the laser or grade monitor indicates. 
  • Learn and respect the limits of the machine. Understand your maximum tiling depth and tile-pipe size range and other variables. “For example, don’t try to force the machine to go deeper than its limit,” Cooke says.