Why Water Management?


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  • Thank preceding speakers.
    I’m going to take some time to talk about who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Close up by talking about some environmental and sustainability issues.
  • Here you can see what I was faced with - a crop that was under a tremendous amount of stress but not much that I could do about it at that point
  • Why is it important to talk about the environmental benefits of tile drainage?
    There has been increased scrutiny on all forms of drainage, especially relevant with Lake Winnipeg algae problems, downstream flooding
    Important to talk about how we in agriculture are working to not only remain profitable, but do it in a way that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. KEY POINT!
    I’m going to bombard you with some scientific information, but it is to make the point that water management in agriculture CAN be beneficial to the environment.
  • The 3 key areas where tile drainage is beneficial to the environment
  • Reduced peak flows - often a major concern especially in flood prone areas
  • We have worked hard to develop relationships with other partners.
    We continue to upgrade our GPS systems and software, and we always make sure we have the most current of this kind of technology.
    We also work hard at keeping our people trained and knowledgeable.
  • This is our machine, has performed very well for us.
  • Explain the process of how installation works. Tile stringer goes ahead to lay out tile. Plow installs it. Backhoe digs connections to connect laterals to mains.
  • Sometimes the situation dictates how we install pipe, size can dictate the necessity to use smooth wall, or depth.
  • Why Water Management?

    1. 1. Why Water Management?
    2. 2. 9 Billion by 2050
    3. 3. The implications are enormous A growing population… Seeking to increase their protein intake… From a finite land resource… With a limited water supply…
    4. 4. Source: Syngenta
    5. 5. FARMLAND VALUES cf. GROSS INCOME cf. DEBT Source: Marcus Mitchell, Bonnefield Canada
    6. 6. “Chris, we can’t buy any more land near our farm. We need to do more with the land base we have” “Chris, we have too much at risk. We can’t afford to lose any crop.” “Chris, my son wants to join the farm, and we can’t support two (or more) families on our land base. We need to do more with what we have” “Chris, it just makes sense to improve our existing land base, we already have the inputs and machinery to grow crops on that land”
    7. 7. So? Why Water Management?
    8. 8. 20 year study in Ohio, Toledo Silty Clay
    9. 9. Yield increase on tiled land: 20 yr study of Ontario crop insurance data Crop Yield Increase Corn 29% Soybeans 26% Wheat 38% Dry Beans 21% Canola 13%
    10. 10. Surface or Sub-Surface? It’s Complicated.
    11. 11. Surface or Sub-Surface?
    12. 12. Surface or Sub-Surface? There’s no easy answer. Both are needed in varying degrees. Surface drainage: -Water source is precipitation -Time is critical -Infiltration rate is low -Topography allows it Sub-Surface drainage: -Water source is precipitation and/or from below the surface -Infiltration rate is higher, or ground water pressure is significant -Salinity -Crops, root sensitivity
    13. 13. Surface Drainage
    14. 14. Surface Drainage  Critical for quick removal of excess moisture       Corn roots die after 48 hrs submerged Topo mapping essential for reducing the amount of soil volume to be moved, ensuring best fit drain pattern Caution to control erosion, keep slopes to a minimum Machine control absolutely necessary Routine maintenance can be overlooked Ditching vs. Land Leveling
    15. 15. Land Leveling Primarily used in flood irrigation, less commonly used as a drainage practice. Most common drainage application is in a rowcrop situation where each row can individually drain to an outlet.
    16. 16. Land Leveling • Every row has an outlet for water; slope is variable but positive in one direction • Cross ditches sometimes needed • More soil moved = higher cost • More disruptive: affects soil structure, compaction, microbial/nutrient balance • Topsoil stripping, subsoil leveling • Applications are rows/ridges, low crops • Fence rows/Blow ridges
    17. 17. Quarter with fence rows - traditionally farmed north/south
    18. 18. Ditching • • • • • • Lowest cost water management technique Quick to construct, quick response, quick return Requires ongoing maintenance Outlet issues Erosion controls Salinity pressure
    19. 19. Tile Drainage • Consists network of perforated tubes spaced evenly throughout a field to allow the removal of excess water in a soil profile. • Free water enters the pipe and can run to an outlet.
    20. 20. Tile Drainage • Evidence shows that ancient Egyptians used hollow bones buried in lines to drain the Nile floodplain • Brought to NA by John Johnston; by the mid 1800’s he had laid over 72 miles of clay tile (by hand) • Johnston increased his wheat yields from 12 bu/ac to 60 bu/ac
    21. 21. How does tile drainage work? • Gravitational water, the water that runs through a soil, escapes into the tile and runs to the outlet • Capillary water, the only water that a plant can use, is left in the soil • ANY water that runs out of a tile system is water that would otherwise displace oxygen, effectively drowning the roots
    22. 22. How Tile Drainage Works • Holes in a flower pot • Sponge in a bucket: – When lifted out of the bucket, the water that drips out is the water that tile will remove from a soil – After it stops dripping, the water you can squeeze out is the only water a plant can use – anything more than that is drowning the root by displacing oxygen
    23. 23. What about when it’s dry?
    24. 24. Benefits of Tile Drainage • • • • • • • • • Earlier planting* More timely field operations Crop uniformity Reduced risk Improved yields Eliminate or reduce salinity Peace of mind Tax advantages – 100% deductible in year of installation Increases land value beyond installation cost
    25. 25. Basic Tile Drainage Design Concepts: • Topography – determines layout • Outlet – necessity that can determine feasibility • Coefficient – how much water the system can remove in 24hr period (influences main sizing, influenced by soils) • Spacing – largest cost variable, strongly correlates to efficacy, influenced by soils • Pipe/Tile – perforated, narrow slot, filtered • Utilities, irrigation, infrastructure
    26. 26. Salinity - a symptom of a water problem
    27. 27. Tile Drainage Environmental Benefits
    28. 28. Tile Drainage - Environmental Benefits • Reduced surface runoff • Improved soil health • Green Benefits
    29. 29. Tile Drainage - Environmental Benefits • Reduced surface runoff – Tiled land acts as a buffer to rainfall, gives water time to percolate into a soil profile and slowly be released to streams (Van Vlack/Norton, Mason/Rost, Skaggs/Broadhead, Irwin/Whiteley) • Reduced peak flows in streams (Skaggs: 89%) • Reduced soil erosion due to overland runoff -55% (Baker/Johnson, Hill, Loudon, Belcher/Fogiel, Skaggs) • Reduced movement of P (48%), K (22%), and pesticides (50%) (Gaynor/Loudon, Muir, Bastien)
    30. 30. Tile Drainage - Environmental Benefits • Increased Crop Growth – Coldwell: Corn 35%, Soybeans 32%, Wheat 47% • Increased nutrient usage • Increased soil organic matter, tilth • Increased soil biological activity – Van Vlack/Norton: Increased soil bacteria, better soil tilth, deeper root systems, increased nutrient consumption • Better Soil Structure – Gardner et al.: Improved soil structure, better trafficability, increased water storage capacity
    31. 31. Tile Drainage - Environmental Benefits • Green Benefits – Decreased fossil fuel consumption (Madramootoo, Wind) – Decreased greenhouse gas production • Less CO2 from fossil fuel burn • Less denitrification
    32. 32. Founded 2006 by Chris & Charlotte Unrau •Diploma in Agriculture from University of Manitoba •10 year career in Farm Management – 1500 acre table and chipping potato operation near Carman, MB •Included project and water management; short stint in fruit production •Left the farm in 2006 to pursue Water Management business
    33. 33. Brief history of PLS: Operations started in April 2007: -One tile plow, 1500 acres/yr -One employee -One surface drainage unit Current Operations: -3 Tile Crews – 6000+ acres/yr -2 Surface Drainage Units -5+ Subcontractors working under PLS supervision -2 Companies- PLS and AccuPipe -30+ Employees
    34. 34. Our 3 Pillars: Our Technology Our People Our Expertise
    35. 35. Technology Partners
    36. 36. Our People
    37. 37. Our Expertise The cumulative effect of our equipment, people, and experience. We’ve tiled clear across Canada once and half way back home. That’s 25 million feet of drainage tile installed!
    38. 38. www.plsinc.ca Phone: 1-855-PLS-TILE Follow us on Facebook or Twitter