Tile drainage systems exist to promote water management. Tile systems can be fitted with gates that manipulate the water table and prevent crop nutrients and chemicals from leaving the field and entering nearby streams. In Episode 9 of Corn College TV Season 3, Farm Journal’s Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie explains how tile gates assist in preserving water and soil nutrients.
Ferrie says, "In a normal field, we pull the water table down to the tile depth. If the tile gates are installed correctly, we can hold the water table up and walk it down slower. This will leave more water reserve in the July-August timeframe."
(Click here to order Corn College TV Education Series on DVD.)
Adding and taking out gates is a cycle throughout the year. As the season progresses, taking gates out will lower the water table to promote root depth. Gates should then be added after harvest to keep water and nutrients in the field. Then, in the following spring, the gates should be taken out again after planting.
To learn more about how tile gates control the water table, watch Episode 9 of Corn College TV Season 3 below.