Northern Missouri farmer finds tile helps in wet years and drought.
Published on: Nov 20,2013 by Mindy Ward at The Farmer
Frank Raasch's farms have various lengths, depths and widths of drainage tile. Actually, his farm is more like a pattern tile test plot for northern Missouri.
"The first field I grid tiled was 47 acres back in 2006," he says. "It is the worst farm I have done so far." As a tiling novice, he installed some lines on 20-foot spacing, some at 50-feet and some at 60-feet. "I was trying to decide which one was the best." But it was too little acreage with too much tile to tell a difference. The only think he did realize was that he placed the tile lines too deep.
Still the results did not deter Raasch. The next year he tackled another 160-acre farm. "That one totally transformed that farm," he says. "It will produce good corn in a wet year."
Today, Raasch has tile lines that drain nearly 2,000 acres in Ray and Carroll Counties in northern Missouri. And each farm has a unique drainage design.
Raasch farms are made up of primarily glacial clay. However, it varies quite a bit from field to field, and even within a field. In Ray County, the soils are an Aholt clay. It is a calcareous soil with some alkaline. In Carroll County, Raasch farms Booker clay, which is more of an acid soil.
With seven years of either installing or assessing tile, Raasch has a good understanding of how to tile in northern Missouri. For super heavy clay, he recommends installing on a pattern, tiling every 20 feet. For clay loams, place tile lines every 30 feet and anything heavier than clay loam just tile the drawls, unless there is a water problem.