Of soils and plows

Of soils and plows

It’s been 40 years, but the theory hasn’t altered.

Into the wild: Drainage in Alaska

Into the wild: Drainage in Alaska

A look into the working conditions, unique challenges and regulations for drainage in Alaska.

Plugged up: roots in tile

Plugged up: roots in tile

In the last few years, blocked drain tile has become a major point of discussion for Ontario drainage contractors

Learning curve

Learning curve

Experimenting with controlled drainage on a slope.

Wood chips and sawdust, plus a little biochar, are effective natural solutions to reducing nutrients in area waterways. Steve Suau, principal of Progressive Water Resources, detailed that, as well as other tips Wednesday evening at a program hosted by Hands Along the Water at the Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Watershed Agricultural Council on Aug. 5 announced a $92 million contract to continue protecting water quality and promoting working landscapes in the NYC watershed through 2025.
The annual report by the South Florida Water Management District found that farmers in western Palm Beach County have cut the amount of harmful nutrients leaking into the Everglades by twice that’s required by law.
A group of researchers with the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (FDO) based in Burlington, ON, are catching fish and classifying farm drains in southwestern Ontario. The classification of drains is an ongoing effort by the DFO, with the aim of simplifying drain management and maintenance.
Tile can drastically change the productivity of a field—and farmers are taking note. According to an Illinois FarmDoc report, tiled acres increased 77 percent in the 48 states with tiling from the 2012 Census to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
Northwest Iowa area farmers had a chance to check out construction of Sioux County’s first bioreactor as part of the Conservation Ag Fair held Tuesday, July 23.
Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), a manufacturer of corrugated pipe and other water management products, acquired Infiltrator Water Technologies (Infiltrator), a manufacturer of products for on-site septic wastewater treatment systems, for approximately $1.08 billion from an affiliate of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and other stockholders.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana will visit Purdue University’s Davis Agricultural Center on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.
A constructed wetland is being built on the Illinois Central College (ICC) East Peoria campus to remove nitrates found in the runoff water from 50 acres of farmland on campus.
Dead fish have been washing ashore in various Minnesota lakes. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) refers to this event as “fish kill.” It typically happens when it’s hot and after a lot of rain, where nutrient runoff enters a lake.
Recent flooding in northwest Iowa has paved the way for North American beaver to become more visible, and their increased presence has raised concerns among landowners.
The governments of Canada and Ontario increased funding available to farmers who are taking on projects to reduce phosphorus entering waterways connected to Lake Erie.
Good weather means drainage contractors are out in the fields. But as the summer gets warmer, sometimes contractors are working in hot environments for long periods. 
Tiling season is ramping up and some drainage teams are adding seasonal employees to help with peak season.
It’s been 40 years, but the theory hasn’t altered. What has changed is the advancement in drainage technology and a machine’s capacity to install drainage pipe. A new generation of business owners and machine operators bring new ideas, but the fundamentals remain.
Alaska is not likely the first state that comes to mind when thinking about land drainage. While commonplace in the Midwest, agricultural drainage is not a hot topic among Alaska’s drainage industry, but water management is key for the state’s contractors, and for good reason.
Persistent cold, snow and a deeper frost line in the soil is delaying winter, spring tiling activity in the Corn Belt. Joel Sandeno, Agri-Tile Inc., says the work season for tiling farm fields has been shortened this winter and doesn’t look good for spring.
Drainage contractors are completing erosion and sediment control certification training in order to stay up to date with best environmental practices. Here are some key takeaways from a recent training session and more information on the certification.
Installing a blind inlet filters water through layers of soil and rock before it enters the tile system, reducing the amount of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment that can affect water quality.
Continuing education is part of any career – including a drainage contractor’s. Agricultural drainage systems are complex. Contractors must pay attention to local laws, soil types, slope, environmental considerations and size, depth and spacing of tile.
I previously wrote an article about barriers to adoption of innovative drainage practices. Those barriers included risk aversion, practices of adjacent landowners, economics and local conditions.
Drones need no introduction. Stories about drones hover on technology websites and never seem to go out of style. But what value does this former “next big thing” bring to the drainage industry?
Roger and Louise Van Ersvelde are passionate about conservation and land stewardship on their farm east of Brooklyn in Poweshiek County, IA.
No official background in drainage or excavating stopped the now 37-year-old Bourke Sprague from building his company, Sprague Excavating LLC, based in Union County, KY.
Saturated buffers can provide a cost-effective means of removing nitrates from tile drainage water before it flows into adjacent creeks and streams. However, the site must meet specific guidelines.
New research out of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center reveals that road ditches help reduce nitrates and can function as an edge-of-field conservation practice within a watershed.
In the last few years, blocked drain tile has become a major point of discussion for Ontario drainage contractors. But the problem has been around more than a few years.
A new project examining controlled drainage on a slope is set to begin in Huron County, ON, this spring. In June, Huron Soil and Crop Improvement Association (HSCIA) will install a contoured drainage system in a side-by-side trial with conventionally tiled and untiled systems on 47 acres at the Huronview Demonstration Farm near Clinton, ON. Part of the installation will be offered as a demonstration for public viewing.
ShoreRivers, an advocacy organisation protecting and restoring Maryland's eastern shore, received a $10,000 grant from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. 
An Iowa Water Quality Initiative pro­­ject in Sioux County has federal funding available that landowners and farm operators may apply for.
The Farm Services Agency (FSA) and the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) collaborated to quantify the effectiveness of saturated buffers to reduce nutrient loading from tile drainage waters. This demonstration program builds upon this same group of collaborator’s findings from the 2012-2015 and 2016-2017 projects.
There are new projects in Illinois that would change the look of a field-tiling projet from parallel lines to a pitchfork pattern and change the way water flows from a field.
The Canadian government invests $181,593 of funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support a project to demonstrate and monitor contoured drainage on a field at the Huron County demonstration farm in southwestern Ontario.
Rice is a staple food crop of 20 percent of the world’s population. It’s also grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Iowa is one of seven states to receive funding for conservation efforts in new priority watersheds. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently selected eight Iowa watersheds for priority funding through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). NRCS is accepting MRBI project applications through March 15.
The Bay Journal has released a four part series looking into the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program and its progress to meet its 2025 clean up goals that will improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff.
More and more businesses are moving online. For drainage contractors looking to build, or improve, a company website, Forbes contributor Allison Bowlus lays out 10 steps to getting started and helping a business website compete effectively in the online marketplace. 
We all have our vices and I’m no different, although perhaps I’m slightly duller than most: one of my vices has always been history. You may not consider an eagerness to learn about the past to be a problem, and I would argue is it not, however my wife and children are beginning to view it as one. We have a lot of history here in the U.K., and plenty of historic places to visit (which my family tolerates as I force-feed them yet another free lecture about why this place is important).
For more than two years, we at National LICA became historians. The association embarked on a project, The History of Farm Drainage and the LICA Contractor, to identify the role LICA members played in developing farm drainage and its positive effects on the world.
Soil-conservation district offices statewide are open for the annual sign-up period for Maryland Department of Agriculture's cover crop program from June 21 to July 17. 
I am excited to assume the position of National Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) President for 2018. This is the same position my father John held in 1999. Much is the same, but a great deal has changed since then. LICA is growing rapidly, largely through the benefits secured by Jerry Biuso, our CEO, and our close ties to government agencies through John Peterson, our director of government relations. Here’s a look at a few of the projects happening at the moment. Memorandum of Understanding with NRCSMany years ago, we had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It has since expired and the executive committee would like to create a new MOU representing LICA and NRCS today. We have established a steering committee to work on a rewrite. The relationship between our two organizations has been very productive since we have similar goals.The History of Farm DrainageLICA has embarked on a comprehensive project to publish “The History of Farm Drainage.” America feeds the world and the development of farm drainage systems has been vital to that effort. LICA believes it is important to have a recorded history of the drainage industry in which many of our members work.Bob Clark, president of Clark Farm Drainage, Inc. and past-president of LICA, is serving as the project chairman, with a goal of collecting relevant information from every aspect of the industry, reviewing and co-ordinating that data, and publishing the results in a leather-bound book which will be available through LICA.We are reaching out to anyone involved in the drainage industry – researchers, producers, contractors, manufacturers, educators – and asking them to provide any history they may have relating to the drainage industry in America, as well as where they see the industry heading tomorrow.All editorial submission should include the follow four items: Date: The publication will follow a time line. What: Describe the action, product or service. Impact: Describe the positive impact it had on the industry. Source: Identify the source. Please submit all editorial to the designated email:
Timmins, ON farmers are now growing more produce than ever before because of a new funding program that makes their land easier to farm.
If someone told you there was a tried-and-true product available that would consistently increase your crop yields by 29 to 36 per cent, you would probably pay attention. These are the estimated yield benefits for systematic tile drainage in Ontario.
Is it worth spending $1,000 per acre on tile drainage to get a $40 boost in crop production?
Ontario is the only Canadian province that has a licensing program for drainage contractors. By far the most agricultural tile is installed in Ontario, and the program ensures Ontario contractors are highly skilled.
Most growers on farmland northeast of Winnipeg, Man., expect to lose about 20 percent of their acres in a typical wet year, which can happen six years in a row.
I speak for everyone at the Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) when I wish the industry a happy and successful end to their spring work season. As a drainage contractor myself for nearly 30 years, I know all too well that spring can be a challenging time for anyone in the construction field.
Here in southern Ontario, where Drainage Contractor is based, crop harvest will be complete by the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, and area producers – and drainage contractors – will be reminiscing about what was one of the driest summers on record.
Australian environmental company Phoslock Environmental Technologies has signed a commercial-in-confidence agreement to manufacture, sell and distribute a re-usable phosphorus absorption product developed by an international university.
Ditch Doctor now offers a pump scroll case for pumping liquids and slurry material. The attachment can turn an excavator into a version of an 8-inch pump. Users can control its position and depth with precision of an excavator.
Fecon introduces the Tier-4 compliant BHP270 Power Pack for larger excavators (over 20 ton). This independent power source provides additional hydraulic horsepower to operate attachments like the Bull Hog mulching head without hydraulic flow from the host machine. While excavators of this size typically provide 45 to 60 gallons per minute (gpm), the BHP270 delivers up to 109 gpm of hydraulic flow for maximum power on the jobsite. This new fuel-efficient upgrade delivers a flatter torque curve for constant 270 HP output from 2,000 to 2,400 rpm, yet uses jut 7.7 gph at Duty Cycle. The Power Management microcontroller channels all power to the brush cutter, and there is no power loss due to accessories. This also improves engine response/recovery and sustained peak grinding power. New After Treatment (AT) components are located inside the “dome” on the roof, keeping AT heat separated from the engine bay. A larger fuel tank holds 91.5 gallons and is sufficient for a full day of work. Other new design elements include a new firewall inside the engine compartment to keep airflow from the engine side separate from hydraulic side. All hydraulic components are now on the left side of the fire wall. Airflow direction on the engine is reversed from previous version, with intake on right rear door and exhaust out of right side door. A Rexroth 145cc hydraulic pump produces maximum pressure of 5800 psi and hydraulic flow of 109 gpm. There is a new cab control panel with keyless start for more convenience and safety. The new display is brighter and easier to read. A new light alerts operator to tilt angle limits exceeded. An increased frame depth allows the addition of a stiffening cross tube to reduce vibration. For more information, visit Fecon online at www.fecon.com.
The HyPro Large Tile Feeder is a new product developed by Knorr Manufacturing Ltd. and Hypro Equipment. The purpose of Hypro Large Tile Feeder is to assist with installing large diameter single wall and dual wall flex pipe from eight inches up to 15 inches.
CHC Navigation announced the availability of its new i50 GNSS receiver, an all-in-one, cost-effective and easy-to-use GNSS RTK solution. GNSS RTK refers real-time kinematic, a satellite navigation technique that provides position data derived from satellite-based positioning systems (GNSS or global navigation satellite systems).
The 4” Flex Tap Tee, a product collaboration between Central Plastic Products Inc. and Fratco, is a new tap tee option for drainage systems.
AMW Machine Control Solutions Inc. has announced the introduction of its new AMW PIPE and AMW DITCH machine control solutions focused primarily on the agricultural market. These products are suited for agricultural water management applications where automatic drainage-tile installation and land shaping for waterways is required. Each of these new machine control solutions is user-friendly and runs on an Android operating system and CHC Navigation GNSS hardware.
Prinsco’s original Goldflex flexible dual-wall pipe was in development for over five years with millions of contractor-installed feet before coming to the market in 2017. Goldflex G2 is the second generation, re-engineered based on years of customer feedback and testing.
AgRePlan, LLC and GeoLogic Computer Systems, Inc. (GeoLogic) are announcing the release of an improved version of the GeoSite Manager System (GeoSite) and a distribution agreement between AgRePlan and GeoLogic.
Hickenbottom is expanding its inlet accessory line. After offering the Hickenbottom Silt Sock as a way to enhance erosion control, it has now created a quick and easy way to modify the flow rate of new or existing Hickenbottom inlet systems.
Fratco adds ProCorr to its catalog of drainage pipe. A pipe produced with high-quality polypropylene to ensure long-term use, ProCorr has been engineered to perform optimally under harsh conditions.
Trucks have never been more important to a manufacturer’s bottom line; not only because they are selling in ever-increasing numbers, but also because there just doesn’t appear to be a price ceiling.

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