Agricultural Tile Drainage

Tile drainage plays an important role in Wisconsin’s agricultural systems.  Understanding the purpose of tile drainage, locating tile drainage systems and proper drain tile maintenance are key components to maintaining agricultural productivity and protecting water quality in Wisconsin.

A series of fact sheets titled “Tile Drainage in Wisconsin” are being developed with coordination between UW Discovery Farms, UW Extension and UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to inform farmers of the considerations of managing tile drained agricultural landscapes.  The first two fact sheets in this series “Understanding and Locating Tile Drainage Systems” and “Maintaining Tile Drainage Systems” have been completed and can be found below.

A third fact sheet is currently being developed to cover agricultural management practices to reduce potential loss of nutrients to tile drainage.  It is also possible that a fourth fact sheet discussing tile flow patterns may also be produced.  This series of fact sheets allows farmers to make more informed management decisions when working in tile drained landscapes.

Related Materials
4 Documents
Maintaining Tile Drainage Systems
Factsheet (4 pages)
Provides information on inspecting and maintaining tile drainage systems and presents issues to consider when modifying existing tiles or installing new drains.

Tile Drainage in Wisconsin
File (8 pages)
Information on understanding and locating tile drainage systems. Also, maintaining and managing tile-drained landscapes to prevent nutrient loss.

Tile Drainage in Wisconsin: Managing Tile-Drained Landscapes to Prevent Nutrient Loss
Factsheet (8 pages)
Tile-drained agricultural land must be well-managed to reduce the loss of nutrients to surface waters. Nutrient management practices must be carefully followed to minimize the risk of nutrient loss and to maximize fertilizer use efficiency.

Understanding and Locating Tile Drainage Systems
Factsheet (4 pages)
Tile drainage systems thoughout Wisconsin and methods to locate the drains in the field.

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