By Brian Hefty
By Brian Hefty
You need more tile! You probably think I’m a spokesperson for the tile industry as passionately as I talk about tile, but I’m not.
HERE ARE THE 3 REASONS I LOVE TILE AND CAN’T QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT.
IT HAS LITERALLY TRANSFORMED OUR FARM.
We used to get stuck, have to replant constantly, farm around wet holes, and have poor yields due to insufficient drainage. Thanks to tile, all this has changed. Farming is fun again! yields and profits are up. We had zero prevent plant last year despite most neighbors around us having unplanned acres. Our soils is healthier, and our future looks brighter than ever.
WE HAVE SEEN A HUGE, POSTIVE IMPACT ON THOUSANDS OF FARMS AROUND THE WORLD.
I always tell people that selfishly, as someone who provides seed, ag chem, naturals, and fertilizer, I really, really want you to have tile in the ground because all my recommendations and all our products as a company will work better and be more profitable for you to use. Poor drainage destroys all the good agronomic recommendations anyone can make.
TILING IS GREAT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.
It reduces erosion (40% to 60% proven by universities for almost 100 years), leads to cleaner water (far less phosphorus and evvven less total nitrogen), buts flooding (15% to 30% proven by universities for decades), and improves roads. I encourage you to read “Environmental Benefits of Tile Drainage” by Heather Fraser and Ron Fleming. It’s free online. (CLICK HERE TO READ IT.) They have scores of data over the last 100 years to back up everything I’m saying.
TILE THIS SPRING!
We’ve done a huge amount of our tiling (probably 50%) in-crop, and we encourage you to do the same. I know, it sounds crazy. People usually think we’re going to destroy a bunch of crop, but it never seems like we do any major damage at all. Here are the 4 reasons why tiling SHOULD get done in-crop on your farm this year.
1. The sooner you tile, the sooner you reap the rewards. Tiling just needs to get done as quickly as possible, even if that means going in-crop. Your soil will thank you in a big way if you keep the right level of air in there, instead of continually allowing the water table to get too high, which kills all your beneficial soil microbes, not to mention crop roots. Plus, if you have a wet fall, it will be far easier to get the crop out if the ground is tiled.
2. The tiny amount of crop you will rip up will be more than offset by yield gain THIS YEAR. Our advice to minimize crop damage is to only tile when the crop is less than one foot tall. Small crops can recover much easier than big crops. Keep in mind, you are only pulling a single shank once every 20 to 100 feet in your field, and maybe even less if all you are doing is spot-tiling. As soon as that tile gets in the ground, your crop is going to start to benefit, so expect yield gain even this year, not loss.
3. It’s a lot easier and more fun tiling in May and June vs. November and December. In the spring/summer, the days are longer, the temperature is warmer, you likely have far more traction so you need to get pulled less, and everyone on your farm will be much more excited to help out. We find our productivity in June is double what our productivity is in November most years on our farm.
4. You will reduce the burden on your kids or whoever farms the ground next. After one of our workshops this winter, a lady came up to me and started crying. She showed me her soil tests, and then I understood. Her soil had literally been killed by excess sodium. I don’t remember the numbers, but it was something like 30% sodium. Nothing will grow in that. She said she couldn’t pull any tillage tool through those areas, as they would stop the tractor dead. Sadly, this problem didn’t happen overnight. It had been building for decades, and it could have easily been solved 10, 20, or even 30 years ago with tile. I realize we all have to think about ourselves and our farm profitability, but when I see young people crying, it certainly makes me stop and think.
Remember we are nothing more than caretakers of our land. Tile is a tremendous tool that has no downside, other than the cost. I strongly encourage you to invest the money. Your land values will go up. Your crops will improve, as will your profits. Then, while you probably won’t even think about this aspect, the next generation and the next and the next will all benefit from the decision you have made today.