While tile drainage has been a part of farming in the U.S. Midwest and Ontario for decades, a growing number of producers in Western Canada are finding they can justify the cost of installing tile in their land.
Take Craig Shaw for example. Speaking at FarmTech in Edmonton, the Lacombe, Alberta grain farmer gave three reasons why farmers like him are installing tile in Western Canada:
- Higher land values — producers are looking to improve the productivity of their existing land base.
- Higher input costs — as input costs rise, a crop wreck due to excess moisture becomes harder to absorb (no pun intended!)
- Improvements in equipment and technology are allowing farmers to install their own tile.
“The adoption has been very quick. We’re seeing a lot of tile drainage in irrigation, in situations with high value crops such as potatoes, row crops,” noted Shaw in the video below.
After struggling with excess moisture for several years, he said tile installed in 2013 allowed his crop yields to bounce back last year.
“In a dry environment, you lose your poor land. In a wet environment, you lose your good land. That’s really what drove us,” he said. “It’s your cheapest land to farm and we were losing that land.”