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See tiling equipment in action at FPSSee tiling equipment in action at FPS

Come watch machines lay tile to improve drainage during the Farm Progress Show.

Tom J. Bechman

August 21, 2023

2 Min Read
group of people watching a tiling demo in a field
INTEREST GROWS: Head to the tiling demonstrations early to get a prime spot to watch. Crowds continue increasing for this demo as interest in tiling rises.Holly Spangler

If you thought tiling demos drew a crowd before, chances are you haven’t seen anything yet. There isn’t a single practice in agriculture as hot right now as tiling.

Why? Farmers says it’s because tiling gives one of the best return on investments in agriculture today. Year in and year out, yield maps continue to back up the benefits of tiling, and the message is reverberating in farm country.

Tiling demos have been an important part of the Farm Progress Show at Decatur, Ill., for several years, and the trend continues this year.

In past years, tile has been installed during the show on land owned by David and Dawn Brix, one of the host families. This year, it is on land adjacent to them, farms owned by the Voorhees and Padrutt families. But as the manager who oversees field demos, David Brix will still be the one making sure it comes off without a hitch.

“We will be tiling about 40 acres this year in a field located to the northeast of the exhibit grounds,” Brix says. “It’s just to the east of where field demonstrations for corn harvesting and tillage will operate each day.”

High-tech installation

The field also will be pattern-tiled, Brix reports. Members of the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association will provide the equipment and labor to install the tile, using GPS laser-guided technology.

Mains and then laterals will be installed. Each lateral has 4-inch-diameter plastic drainage tile installed on 50-foot centers.

If you haven’t installed tile yourself, watching these land contractors work with modern surveying equipment should prove interesting, Brix says.

Tiling demonstrations will commence each day at noon. The crew will continue until about 1:30 p.m., wrapping up in time for people to get to the tillage demos, which begin at 2 p.m.

Volunteers installing the tile will spread out the workload so visitors have something to see for every day of the show.

Brix says visitors should pay attention to the safety crew who are wearing orange vests. They will provide instructions on where you can safely watch the action.

Members from the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association will be on hand to answer questions about drainage and tile installation.

The 2023 Farm Progress Show is Aug. 29-31. Learn more at FarmProgressShow.com, and check out the digital edition of the official program.

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About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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