December 3, 2013
By: Jerry Miller

Tiling A Field

Once I married my farmer I became more and more knowledgeable about what exactly happens on a farm every day. And I often say it's like little boys who had little toys and they grew up into big boys with bigger toys...And I mean that in the sweetest way possible!

A few years ago a tile plow was purchased around here and our Harvest that typically ends at the end of October now kind of extends into November with tiling

When you "tile" a field you are doing it in order to help with drainage. You mainly lay tile in spots that have poor drainage, which means a wet spot where water just kind of sits.

You dig a line in the ground and lay some tile in order to help that water move along through the field, rather than just sit in one spot. If you have spots in a field where water just sits it tends to mean you can't plant seed there, which means a loss in bushels per acre since that spot now does not have a crop planted in it.

The whole process to me is way cool. I think my husband thinks so too, especially since he spent so much time with the user manuals and attending classes to learn how to do it properly. It is so neat how everything has to work together just right to make it happen just right.

I have seen what happens when all pieces of equipment work perfectly, and unfortunately I have also seen what happens when they aren't working perfectlyLots of steps..but this is how we do it.

We start by flagging the location we want to lay the tile.

We roll out the tile to get ready.

The tractor that is then pulling the tile plow has to drive the line where we are going to put the tile. This links it into the GPS, so we know where the starting position was. This is a slow going process, as you normally run about 1.7 MPH. So, nice and slow.

Once you reach the end where you want to be you hit stop. That line is now in place.

In our case we have a line already set that we want to link into. Which means that the excavator has to come over and dig down to that line so we can "T" into it. Or add the tile we are getting ready to lay.

You then stick the tile into the top of the tile plow, it digs down the correct depth, in this case around 3 ft and lays the tile. You then continue to follow the line you just drove by following the GPS coordinates.

Now, we technically have three pieces of equipment linked up at any given time. The tractor pulling the tile plow, the tile plow, and the ranger that puts in the flags. And we give all that credit to GPS, making it happen smoothly and connecting everything together so we know just the right spot to lay the tile.

I am an advocate for technology and continuing to grow in Agriculture. I think this is one more example of being stewards of the land. With GPS we can ensure we put the minimal amount of tile needed in a field to ensure proper drainage and a worthy crop.

Keep in mind, farmers out there, I have simplified this process a bit because I think really getting into the nitty gritty can get a bit confusing if you aren't out in the field seeing it first hand!