By Brian Hefty

I know we’ve talked a lot about tiling over the last few years, but we continue to talk about it because it helps farmers make so much extra money while improving the soil, filtering the water, reducing flooding, and allowing earlier planting.

The other reason why I wanted to talk to you about this today is because the day after planting gets done is usually the best day to start tiling.  Here are five reasons why in-crop tiling is better than waiting until this fall:

  1. You will get lots more tile in the ground each day right now.  Days are longer.  Temps are warmer.  Topsoil is, hopefully, relatively dry.  Tiling is fun in late spring and summer, but not so fun when it is 20 degrees out in the late fall.
  2. You know exactly where you need tile right now.  This was the first thing my dad told me about tiling in the spring.  “You had issues with excess moisture in certain spots when you were planting,” he said, “so you know exactly where tile is most needed.”
  3. Tile prices are typically less expensive now compared to fall.
  4. The sooner you get tile in, the sooner you start reaping the benefits.  Tiling increases yield 15% to 25% on average.  Even tiling right after planting can really help this year’s crop.  Most people worry about driving over a little crop, but when it’s small you don’t hurt much; and the benefits of good drainage almost always outweigh the tiny amount of crop you ruin.  We have done most of our tiling in-crop over the last 6 years.  It hasn’t shown up negatively on the yield monitor yet.
  5. Fall is already too busy, so why not get this $500 per hour job done now?  Doing tiling yourself saves hundreds of dollars per hour; and if you get the job done now, you don’t have to worry about hoping to get it done in the fall.  Farmers often ask me how they can get their kids involved in their operation because they are concerned there isn’t enough money to go around.  My advice is have the kids start working on some of the $100+ per hour jobs like tiling, field scouting, spraying, spreading fertilizer, etc.