Farmers get to work as soon as the snow is gone and the frost is out of the soil. In Minnesota the soil is heavy and holds quite a bit of moisture, so field tiling is important. A company will come out and set up a web of tiles deep under the field to help with water drainage. This is their story.
The surveyors come out first to map out the entire lay of the land. As they drive back and forth across the field a GPS system sets up an underground map for laying the tiles at the same depth the whole field through, in spite of varying high and low spots.
The map is the finished product from the surveyors work. This will be used to bring all the tiles together underground and eventually drained out to a drainage ditch. It will also be given to the farmer so they know where the tile lines lay.
Tiles get laid out
Once the surveyed map is completed the tiling work can begin. The big machines get brought out and the tiles get laid out in lines per the above map so that they will be ready for integration into the soil.
Using the Border Line
The very first step of tiling is to create a border line. This tile line gets laid first and then every other line runs perpendicular to that one. In order to have all the lines carrying away the water a hole needs to be dug down to the border line for access.
Digging instructions are key. Because the tile tubes are made of plastic a lot of direction is required to make sure that the hole is dug deep enough to reach the line, but not too aggressively that is breaks the line.
Tools of the Trade
Essential tools are brought out as the hole gets deep enough to see the border tile piping: a probe to feel for the tile line (finding it with a shovel or the backhoe could result in holes and would be disastrous), the hexagonal tool is a cutter which is used to slice the tile tube in half to install a T-Line
Successful Drainage Line Installation
As the plow pulls away from the hole the tile piping will be laid tautly deep beneath the soil. A lot of this part is done electronically using the GPS map that the surveyors made.