How to Install an Agricultural Drainage Pipe


In an age of favorable prices, farmers are seeking to increase the vitality and plenitude of their crops. Unfortunately, a surplus of moisture can quickly undermine such goals by stunting root growth. Growers are wise to install a quality drainage network of pipes (often called tiles) that will remove unwanted water from their soil. This task calls for a hefty expenditure of time or money, depending on whether the farmer prefers to lay the piping himself or to outsource the project to engineers. Regardless of who executes the job, there are certain elements worth following.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage plow
  • Tubing trailer
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Drainage piping
  • Purchase a soil test kit from your county extension agent or, better yet, ask the agent to perform this assessment if it will not be cost prohibitive. The ratios of soil to water to air must be determined as well as salt and phosphorous levels. If these measurements are optimal, drainage piping installation may be delayed, at least for the short term.

  • Plot the pattern and orientation of your piping according to the soil test results, also keeping the contours of the land in mind. Employ a random design if drainage obstacles are localized. Parallel and herringbone patterns work if the issues are more widespread. Streams or drainage ditches are the desired destinations for the excess water. Figure depth based on water table levels. Drainage tiles are often laid at three to four feet below the surface.

  • Obtain your piping from a reliable dealer. Cost is variable based on the size and amount of tile needed to complete the job. The size also depends on the slope of the land, which will affect the velocity of drainage. Rent a trailer implement to lay the piping, as it is spooled on large reels.

  • Feed the predetermined drainage layout coordinates into your GPS. Trench the land with a drainage plow attachment in accordance with this configuration.

  • Hitch the tubing trailer to your tractor and lay the piping at a creeping speed. This insures proper unraveling at the spool and accurate placement in the trench. Fill the trenches upon completion.

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  • Photo Credit corn field 6 image by Jim Parkin from
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