GFM Network News


Les Henry: Soil salinity and tile drainage

Can investing in tile drainage make your Prairie soil less saline and more profitable?

The idea for this subject came from a recent phone call from a farmer in west-central Saskatchewan. He was considering the purchase of a piece of land that was priced below recent sales but did have salinity problems. He was wondering about the feasibility of tile drainage to fix the problem and make the land […] Read more

New water management and soil moisture monitoring tools show what’s happening below the soil in the root zone, allowing farmers to compare performance between tiled and non-tiled fields.

Satellites and drainage a good partnership

Farmers Edge and NextGen Drainage Solutions team up to advance tile drainage tech

One of the most common questions farmers ask about tile drainage is, “Will it work in our area?” As probably one of the most expensive investments a farmer will make, next to purchasing land, it’s understandable that farmers want to make sure tile drainage will work and give them some tangible benefits before they take […] Read more


How to tile a bin yard for drainage

Tiling a bin yard is not the same as adding drainage tiles to a field. Find out why

When a Saskatchewan farmer turned to Twitter for advice on draining his bin yard, Grainews wanted to know what that would take. As I soon found out, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but the results can be well worth the effort. As with most things, consulting a professional is probably the best first […] Read more

Nitrate in the environment

Agriculture is a big part of nitrogen movement. Let's measure what we're doing

This column has dealt with “nitrate down the well” a few times in the past. To make a long story short: Nitrate-contaminated farm wells have been known since 1945 when the first case of infant “blue-baby” was related to a contaminated farm well in Iowa. A 1948 survey of 2,000 Saskatchewan farm wells found 18 […] Read more


This graphic, from a University of Minnesota Extension Bulletin, shows some common designs for tile drainage.

Trying tile drainage on your farm

There's information out there. Do your homework before starting tile drainage

I am not an engineer and will not give recipes for pipe size, spacing or equipment. Rather, I’ll look at the principles and steps a farmer should take before investing big bucks in tiles. Tile drainage is not a new technology. Many of the better soils of the world are on flat, low lying, high […] Read more

Tile drainage in progress south of Melfort, October 2014. The water table was high and tiles were running as soon as installed. The drain outlet is Melfort Creek. This project is on the Alan Hurd farm. Mark Gordon of Agri-Trend provided the soil EC mapping of the site and Stu Brandt of NARF (Northeast Agricultural Research Foundation) installed the observation wells and is monitoring the site.

Soil salinity: causes, cures, coping

After recent wet years, we’re seeing salinity again. Learn to cure it or cope with it

A few years back we predicted that the super wet years would lead to a marked increase in soil salinity. It is now happening. In this piece I am not going to talk about Solonetzic soils or true Alkali (high pH , low salts) soils. I’m talking only about saline soils — soils that have […] Read more


There are parts of southern Ontario where nearly three quarters of all agricultural land is tile drained. It’s what farmers do there.

Understanding farm water issues

Water: it’s necessary for life. But add the word “drainage” and it can also start fights

Corn prices. Why am I getting emails with those words in the subject line? Why does Gmail’s spam filter let that slip by? I’ve been telling people for a couple years now that I farm. To border guards and others who’d trust or like me more if I worked with my hands, I am a […] Read more

This farmer is doing a diy tile draining installation.

Do-it-yourself tile drainage

Combine easy-to-use GPS technology with high land prices, and more Manitoba farmers are installing their own tile draining

Tile drainage has become increasingly popular in Manitoba. With only a few installers to go around and costs anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per acre, some adventurous farmers are opting to give it a go themselves. Northern Plains Drainage Systems Inc. of Carman has sold over 50 tile plows to farmers across Western Canada in […] Read more