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Would drainage tile work in Alberta?
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Alberta Farmer
Posted 6/11/2010 20:15 (#1233402)
Subject: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



West Central Alberta
Up here in Alberta, Drainage tile is an unknown entity, I can't find anyone who has tried it, or even knows much about it. But I have alot of heavy black land sitting on impermeable clay. It has the potential to grow amazing crops when we get moderate or even no rain, but with a spring like this, it gets waterlogged and the results are disappointing. Any of the land I would be considering has at least slight slope, some places it is considerable, and at least a couple of feet ( most places much more) of elevation difference to the nearest route for the water to escape, so there must be a way to get the water from the top to the bottom. It is frustrating to see a side hill drown out, literally. Our local Alberta Ag rep ( from Denmark where they do use drainage tile) figures that they wouldn't work because they would still be frozen by the time they need to function., but I'm not convinced, they may not take away the spring runoff, but they would work on the June deluge. Are there any other ideas, such as adding enough fibre to the soil that it can be porous enough to drain, or deep ripping in the direction of drainage? I'd appreciate input from anyone who has used drainage tile no matter where it is.

And to think, at this time last year we would have given anything for some rain. Some places had none for the whole year.
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iseedit
Posted 6/11/2010 20:28 (#1233413 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



central - east central Minnesota -

If you are not on permafrost - it should work the same as it would here in Mn or any other state . . . . .  The biggest thing, the drainage tile needs a place to empty into . . .

The tile will open up when the frost moves out of the ground. Idealy, drainage tile with 1½ rock around the tile would be ideal and allow the most water movement.

Any way to try a line or two ? It wouldn't cost much and if you do try, be sure to allow for the additions / continuation of the rest of the field . . .

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iseedit
Posted 6/11/2010 20:30 (#1233417 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



central - east central Minnesota -
In addition, I would bring my tile to the top of the ground, to stick out, and that lets warm air down into the tile if any water is frozen in the tile or lets warm air in to help thaw soil around the tile to start draining quicker .. .  ..



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paul the original
Posted 6/11/2010 20:44 (#1233429 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


southern MN
In theory, tile runs all year until the water freezes in the soil - then the tile drains out, and remains open until spring, when the ground thaws & releases water, it starts draining right away again.

Generally as soon as channels thaw through the subsiol, it's gonna start draining.

I have a lot of tile 2 to 4 feet deep, and frost to 4 feet is not all that uncommon here in MN.

I have pretty tight yellow clay soil. And lots & lots of seeping wet sidehills, so I understand your drownouts on a hill! Just last month has more tile installed, everyone was saying it's a little dry around here could use rain. They had to breing a small dozer to pull their tracked tile plow up the hill, was slippy when you walked on the hill.

I've heard of work with certain types of tillage, deep, thin shank, with a bullet shape to try to move water through the voids. It worked in some cases, but perhaps depended on the right subsoil, basically you got short seepage from tight soils to a courser subsoil area.....

More tile for me.

--->Paul

--->Paul
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dloc
Posted 6/11/2010 21:08 (#1233453 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


Find a good tile manufacturing company with a history of innovation; and an innovative installer. Tile does not have to be installed at 4 or 5 or 6 foot depths and 100 ft spacing. For your situation, I might consider 2.5” tile at 20 ft spacing and 2’ depth  Early drainage of surface water leads to faster soil warm-up, earlier working conditions, fast return to working conditions after a rain and increased water holding capacity (between the bottom of the tile and the impermeable clay layer) to help carry the crop through the Summer. Installation of small diameter tile at shallow depths goes fast but is design critical.

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Alberta Farmer
Posted 6/12/2010 00:45 (#1233819 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



West Central Alberta
Thanks for the responses, that is promising news. Especially the pictures of the water running while there is still snow on the ground. So, what are usual specifications for requried slope? In clay soil can the tile be placed directly, or would it need the rock as suggested by iseedit? What is the usual method for an outlet, can each pipe just open up into a ditch, or do you usually tie into progressively larger tiles? Paul, I can sympathize, My neighbour wondered why we weren't in the feilds when he was already seeding "the flat" which is low river bottom ground sitting on gravel. Then he came to borrow our cultivator and got his MFWD stuck well up on a hillside he understood then.
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collegeboy
Posted 6/12/2010 01:07 (#1233831 - in reply to #1233819)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



Slicker than a Yes album.
In our clay (similar to Paul's) we just put the tile in. Water has amazing hydraulic capabilities, eventually it should find its way to the easy flow. I'd imagine that super tight clay exists, so the need for rock in the trench. The smaller the pipe, the more grade is needed to flow the same amount. However, as long as one end is higher, it will drain, just takes a bit longer with smaller pipe. We put in a lot of 5" years ago, now we are at 4" and 70 foot intervals. If you have a big ditch, it's best to dig through it once, so the fewer the mains the better. It also has to be sewer pipe or dual wall tile. Needs to be heavier to hang there and withstand drifts.

Keep asking questions, I think you know this is a good place to find answers.



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Gerald J.
Posted 6/12/2010 01:08 (#1233832 - in reply to #1233819)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



The rock helps filter soil out of the water and adds passage area for more water flow than just the tile. A ditch of covered over gravel is called a french drain, some claim it drains just as well without a tile in the gravel as with a tile in the gravel.

In Iowa tiles are run to ditches or to larger tiles or to main tile. On my farm some tile run to the road ditch, some run to a tile main that's 18" diameter and for all the acres up stream it ought to be more like 32 or 36" because in a normal spring it runs full for a month or two, so full the outlet shoots like a canon and has eroded the outlet structure at a creek a quarter mile up the tile to make a deep ditch. The main has been there since 1907.

Gerald J.
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paul the original
Posted 6/12/2010 01:24 (#1233844 - in reply to #1233831)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


southern MN
Just had 14000 feet or so put in, mostly 4 inch on 80 foot centers to pull out 3 sidehill spots, about 20-25 acres. Rolling hills, these are small hit & miss pattern tile plots. Some 5 & 6 inch mains to gather the 4's. Last summer I put in 5000 feet - wow was that nice to plant corn this spring. Dad already had miles of tile in this farm, but to all the low spots; now it's the sidehills that stay wet. I was looking on the USDA Web soil survey deal a few weeks ago, and found 1/2 of my land is classified as a water table at zero inches - yea it's wet clay.

They dug in 3 trenches to set up 3 of the lines, and quit for the day. The next morning, all three 20 foot long trenches had water running to the main line. Just oozing out of the subsoil & channeling to the tile on it's own. Pretty neat to see.

Got a bit of a sand pit, I've put a little sand column in the trench sometimes to allow surface water to soak down to the tile quicker. Don't do that with the tile plow deal of course now. In my clay, the water will move around without it underground. Used to be they spaced tile 100 feet apart - now they suggest 70 feet, and I hear of putting in shallower tile at 40 foot spacing as others mention.

Lot of art to the science of planning out & laying tile. You got to go to the upper side of the hill - wherever you stop on a hill, that's where the water will be. You can't stop in the middle of the wet spot, you need to go through it and past a bit.

--->Paul
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willvr
Posted 6/12/2010 01:29 (#1233848 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


Bow Island, Alberta
We have some 4" drain tile in one field that was installed about 20 years ago. Put it in to reduce the sepage problem from an irrigation ditch. It's been running full since the middle of April and we haven't even had water in the ditch yet! At that time there were at least 2 companies in Southern Alberta installing drain tile. Haven't heard if anyone of them is still around.
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Alberta Farmer
Posted 6/12/2010 02:56 (#1233875 - in reply to #1233848)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



West Central Alberta
Now that is ironic, drainage tile to remove the water escaping from an irrigation ditch. I wouldn't have even considered checking southern Alberta for anything to do with drainage, the stereotypical impression of your region is rather dry. but I will check into it.

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Alberta Farmer
Posted 6/12/2010 03:07 (#1233878 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



West Central Alberta
So, what is the life span of tile? And is there ever maintenance involved? Do they ever get silted up or plug in the wrong soil types, or wrong slope? I think I will try a test plot before next year, my only other challenge is convincing the county that their dams ( they call them roads) need much bigger deeper and more culverts, so that I can get the water out of the ditches fast enough. In the location I would like to try, the open ditch is running through some very boggy peat soil in a pasture, there would be some distance( 1-200 feet) between that and the lower edge of the farmland, would it be better to run tile all the way, even through the pasture to keep the saturated ground from seeping back, and blocking the natural flow through the soil? or switch to pipe once out of the field so not to overload the pipe? I suppose if it is effective enough, the whole area could then be farmed and the question is redundant. Does anyone have a map showing what a typical set up looks like, preferably with some indication of elevations? Thanks for all the help.
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paul the original
Posted 6/12/2010 03:49 (#1233884 - in reply to #1233878)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


southern MN
I really hate tile in shallow. Like to be at 3 feet to the bottom. Most all tile plows go to 5 feet, many to 7+ feet if needed. Plowed is faster, trenched is fine too, can see what's down there moreso, but more work backfilling.

Elevation - 1% is fine. Less works if you have to. Just needs to go down, doesn't have to go down fast - the fellas talked about having a few inches fall per 80 acre field at times.

Draining the pasture to make more field - my farm was 90 acres pasture, 100 acres fields when dad got it. While I have 9 acres of pasture, it would grow corn & beans just fine.

You don't have to tile everything - but planning for getting there is the key. If there is a low spot, put your main tile in deep enough to get it later. Real spendy to have to run another main lower in 5 years when you realize you want that drained too.

If 70 foot spacings work right in your area, placing tile 140 feet apart to start is fine - might take an extra week to make that dry out the field, but it will sure help, and you can add the middles another year when you get more bucks. But plan the layout so you can come back, not so you have to redo or backtrack or double up the tile or cross your first run.....

'Here' the county would have a fit if you drained into a county road ditch. The state allows it but you need permits on state highway. I wouldn't have believed it, but the neighbor did it. There is quite a network of drainage ditches, with county owned tile mains as well. The county accesses taxes to maintain this network. There are always arguments between neighbors, as the combination of public & private ditch & tile gets added on to.

The concrete tile dad put in in the '50s is working fine. I hear a lot of clay tile from much older is holding up well. If a tile cracks or chips, might suck in dirt and need to be replaced or patched with concrete & plastic. Outlets like to have critters nest in or around them, and can wash out. Maininence isn't a big deal, but there can be little things one year or another. Shallow tile gets damaged with NH3 or deep ripping or plowing & driving through a dead-furrow - that's why I like 3 foot deep tile, not the shallow stuff.

Now, don't know if any of this applies to your soils, and so on! :) Some soils need a sock, or so on. Not familiar with that 'here' so can't say.

Edit: The Hefty boys have a under $50 3 hour DVD on how to tile, I don't know if it's worth it or not - haven't seen it, but they tile in the 'dry' South Dakota area, they have a mini video about it on their home page. http://www.agphd.com/

--->Paul

Edited by paul the original 6/12/2010 03:57
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Traveling Man
Posted 6/12/2010 04:17 (#1233886 - in reply to #1233884)
Subject: Re: Sure it will! No frost problems!


Finland, up there in north where noboby farms!
Danish....what would they know about frost?????????????? :) Only cold thing they have is beer!

Finland is full of tile lines and we can get frost down to 2-3 feet. It is rare tile lines would frost, exept in places where you have snowmobile, logging tractor driving a cross it. Our lines are 2-4 feet deep and they do fine, no worries. Winters can be similar to Alberta, we have had -30C several weeks whit very little snow.

85% of the ground have tile in it and the frost would be an issue we sure would know!

Edited by Traveling Man 6/12/2010 04:18
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Thud
Posted 6/12/2010 07:20 (#1233912 - in reply to #1233886)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


Essex Country Ontario
All our outlets our from mains, connected to laterals in the fields. Here the extra cost of the main is partially offset by future savings in drain ( ditch) maintenance. Not sure how things work where others are but here the municipality covers the cost of MOST drainage ditch maintenance then recoups the cost from all land owners that use the drain over a number of years. Thing to remember is that the land owner only pays for the portion of the drain he/uses so the guy at the top end of the drain will pay a larger bill as he's using the entire length of the drain, the guy closest to the drains outlet will have minimal expense. You want to get your tile main outlet as far 'down stream' as is economically/practically possible to help eliminate future maintenance expenses.
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Case IH 9390
Posted 6/12/2010 08:22 (#1233960 - in reply to #1233912)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



North Central Iowa, Humboldt County
" Here " the owner closest to the outlet pays the largest portion because they have the greatest benefit.
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Gerald J.
Posted 6/12/2010 09:24 (#1234024 - in reply to #1233878)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



Yes, all those things occur. The main tile (its a mutual tile, not a county tile) rises about half a diameter so the next place north doesn't drain the tile dry. Its already down to about 20 feet by hand, put in clay tile in 1907, 103 years old.

The tile companies know how to apply tile properly, plastic probably won't live as long as the clay tile already has.

And in Iowa there are companies that clean tile when needed.

Besides silting in, tree roots, and critters can make a mess, so its best to avoid trees and to try to limit critter access to the tile, though it's hard to keep out mice and voles.

I think its safe to say that without tile and drainage ditches, most of the north half of Iowa and all the level parts of southern Iowa would still be swamp, not farmable most years. With just 40 inches average rainfall, it would look like Belize. Black dirt on top of an impervious clay layer. On my farm, on a knoll, where I wanted to build a house, I hit water at 3 feet, held up by that impervious white clay layer. I put in tile before digging the basement excavation that would otherwise have been a swimming pool.

Gerald J.
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Alberta Farmer
Posted 6/12/2010 09:52 (#1234063 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



West Central Alberta
wow, 40 inches of rain, we get just over 20 average, and I thought that was alot, of course with a lot less heat to evaporate it. And we have had half of that 20 inches in as little as 10 days in June before, which wreaks some havoc on anything but sandy hills. Our county public works states that we are not supposed to be draining into their ditches, bu the ag rep says you can do it. The way I see it, if I am getting the water both into, and away from their ditches, then that is to their benefit since it no longer washes out their roads and weakens the road bed. But there is little or no organized drainage for the sake of farmers, and most don't even try just call it pasture.
Travelling man, I'd really like to know about farming in Finland, what are you growing up there, and how many frost free days do you get? I've been to St. Petersburg Russia, and was surprised at what they could grow, and you would be even further north.

Paul, what is a "sock" some sort of cloth filter?
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Von WC Ohio
Posted 6/12/2010 10:02 (#1234083 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



Here is a photo album about replacing a old clay 12" main tile mostly due to an upstream neighbor wanting to re- tile their whole farm and needing a better outlet. The old 12" main on me was in bad shape and shallow and I had many wet pockets. The addition of all the new tile upstream would have flooded me out if I had not replaced and made the improvements on my ground.  

http://imageevent.com/vprb/2007dowlerditchmainreplacement

Unfortunately this same farm has a old 24" clay main draining a different part that is in need of the same replacement technique but nobody else upstream or down is interested in making a joint improvement out of it. Even though it is a county tile the county and township do absolutely nothing to improve things or help with drainage issues in any way. I suppose the only cure is to start replacing it a small section at a time. 24" dual wall is very expensive per foot plus the associated costs of installing it. In that case I think I would install the new right where the old is making sure to catch all the tie ins from both sides and remove all the old clay tile. It's over 100 years old and getting in bad shape. Suckholes at joints are a yearly repair and when it breaks it's tough matching new round plastic up to egg shaped clay. You try and get the best fit you can cement the joints over a fiberglass mesh and cover with plastic.

Of course this is the volume of water that comes over the top when the 24" old main is full in extreme rains.

When heavy rains come the 24" cannot take it fast enough and it comes over the top so it reverse flows out of the 12" breathers I installed to try and lessen the pressure on the old tile.

Video of reverse flow.

http://photos.imageevent.com/vprb/temporarypictures/P6020069.wmv

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CATGUY
Posted 6/12/2010 10:36 (#1234135 - in reply to #1233884)
Subject: AgPhd Tiling Video


Iowa

I have the tiling video from them. It is $46. I feel it was informative, but I haven't been around as much tiling as a lot of guys on this sight. For this poster; I would recommend it, he will learn a fair amount, plus be able to do planning and sizing for his acres.

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paul the original
Posted 6/12/2010 11:17 (#1234183 - in reply to #1234063)
Subject: Re: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


southern MN
Yup, sock is a fabric filtering deal over the plastic tile. Just a big tube of woven fabric put over the tile to filter out small particles. Some places need it; the day they installed the tile yellow cloudy water came out my new tile; since then it runs cold & very clear so something we don't need, even tho this is fine yellow clay around here.

I've got situations like Von below, where the water comes out of the tile into the field in heavy rain situations.

'Here' I have a county ditch running through the middle of my low farm, dad put in proivate tile, and neighbors hooked onto those after they were in for pretty cheap cost; now they tile out their whole farms into my overloaded tile mains, and so I need to wait for their uphill water to drain away befor my lower ground will drain out. Tile mains are full.

Good neighbors, good people, just - human nature, "well my water goes away so what's the problem," you know? :) One neighbor actually talked about upgrading a main, helping pay. Cool. But, that's part of the phone company mess which I mentioned around here a month ago.....

--->Paul
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InVigor
Posted 6/12/2010 13:23 (#1234313 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?



Manitoba - CANADA
http://www.idealpipe.ca/
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Gerald J.
Posted 6/12/2010 18:39 (#1234599 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Some tiling pictures



Some tiling pictures are on the AC page at:
http://www.allischalmers.com/new/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13661&PI...

Gerald J.
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fog
Posted 6/13/2010 13:27 (#1235548 - in reply to #1234599)
Subject: RE: cost of tiling around


Western illinois
whats tile cost everywhere?
i ran a few more laterals this spring with a local guy.
the big outfit here timewell tile or adi ag drainage (both have web sites) charges 500+ an acre for a system now but man can they put it in fast
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plowboy74
Posted 6/15/2010 18:02 (#1238178 - in reply to #1233402)
Subject: RE: Would drainage tile work in Alberta?


i dont think that frost would be an issue for a drainage system in your area tile normally thaws out b4 the drainage ditches and the rivers
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