When talking return on investment, tile is typically at the top of the list.
Traditionally, most choose 30- or 40-foot spacings for laterals. However, Ag Drainage Inc. is challenging customary practices. Aaron Kassing, ADI's vice president of marketing, says closer laterals can improve drainage and push yields even further.
"As hybrids change, we need to challenge traditional thinking on drainage," Kassing notes. "We think 15-foot spacings will help push farmers toward the goal of growing 300-bushel corn."
So, 15-foot spacings equals twice the trips across the field, right? Not so fast. ADI has come up with a revolutionary way to lay twice the tile in the same amount of time.
ADI has modified a Super 600 plow to lay two laterals in one pass on 15-foot spacings. Kassing notes the dual-shank plow can handle 2- or 3-inch pipe.
"The benefit of this machine is you aren't doubling the cost of a tile project by choosing 15-foot spacings over 30-foot spacings," Kassing adds. "You're still laying more tile, so there is a cost increase. But, it's more like a 30% increase for the entire project."
Farina farmer Steve Dippold was the first to take advantage of ADI's new plow. He contracted ADI to tile 240 acres on 15-foot spacings.
"The soil is tight on that farm so we figured closer spacings would give us better performance," Dippold notes.
Dippold expects to start seeing results within the next few years on the freshly-tiled ground. He says it will take that long for water to cut a channel to the tile underground. If he sees significant improvement, he will try 15-foot spacings on future tiling projects.
Kassing notes there's another advantage to 15-foot spacings. In anticipation of dry conditions, growers can raise the control gates and more evenly fill the soil profile with water.