2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Underground Water Gates Provide Way To Manage Drainage
"The Water Gates open and close based on water levels downstream at the lowest outlet in the field," explains Charlie Schafer, Agri Drain, Inc. "We expect them to have a very long life in the ground as they have been tested with more than a million repetitions without any wear."
The Water Gates replace hand-operated flow controls, which require manual access through above-ground structures that have to be farmed around. With the Water Gates, flow control is underground at 1-ft. elevation intervals in the drain tile.
They are activated by manually opening and closing a single Water Level Control Structure (WLCS) at the lowest point in the field. Up to 10 Water Gates can be installed above a single WLCS. Flexible couplers attach the Water Gates to the tile lines.
To retain water in the field, the WLCS is adjusted to hold at least 24 in. of water, and water backs up in the first section of tile. The float rises at the first Water Gate upstream and closes the upstream plate for the next section of drainage tile. As water backs up, successive upstream plates are closed, stair stepping soil moisture throughout the field.
"The Water Gates can control the amount of water that leaves a field at a given time," says Schafer. "They provide an opportunity to be more responsive to the needs of the crop and the environment."
Agri Drain is working closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on cost sharing the installation of Water Gates. Cost sharing is already available in many areas. The company is offering training for drainage tile contractors.
Water Gates are list priced at $750. They are currently sized for 8-in. tile lines or smaller. The company is working on smaller and larger models.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Agri Drain Corp., 1462 340th St., Adair, Iowa 50002 (ph 641 742-5211; toll free 800 232-4742; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.agridrain.com).
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