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Unplugger Machines For Clogged Drainage Tile
If you've been debating what to do with field drainage tile that's plugged up and no longer doing its job, you may want to check out a custom "unplugger", or a do-it-yourself "unplugger" machine.
FARM SHOW contacted three custom-operators who specialize in removing sand, dirt, crop roots, mineral deposits and other debris from plastic, clay or concrete field drain-age tile.
"I've got more custom cleaning business than I can handle," says Frans Frijters, of Brunner, Ont., who for the past five years has been "unplugging" clogged drainage tile for area farmers with his Douven tile-cleaning machine, manufactured in Holland. He charges $50 an hour to custom clean tile lines with his 3-pt. tractor-mounted machine which drives off the tractor's pto. He is also a sales representative for the Douven machine for North America. It sells for $6,700 (Canadian dollars) and is the lowest priced tile-cleaning machine we know of for doing the job yourself. It'll clean out all types of lines whether plastic, clay or concrete, up to 12 in. in diameter, says Frijters.
Key to the Douven machine's cleaning ability is a special spray head which has 13 jet nozzles 12 shooting streams of water in reverse and one shooting out a forward stream. The forward jet stream loosens the sand, dirt, sediment or other obstructing material, and the reverse streams provide the propelling power to flush it out.
The spray head is attached to 1,000 ft. of 3/4 in. dia., hose wrapped around a large powered reel. A pto-driven piston pump moves clean flushing water under about 900 lbs. pressure at the rate of 29 gals. per min. Hose is gradually fed into the tile line with a belt-driven, push-pull device which an operator controls with a hand-operated lever.
"If the plugging problem is due largely to sediment buildup, it may take only a few minutes to flush out each 1,000 ft. of tile. If it's plugged solid, it can take a lot longer. I've never encountered a tile I couldn't get unplugged; but some jobs have been a real challenge. I remember one where an 8 in. line was plugged solid with manure and dirt runoff from a feedlot. Took me 8 hrs. to go 1,300 ft. but I got it unplugged," he told FARM SHOW.
The usual procedure for flushing out tile lines is to feed the full 1,000 ft. length of hose into one end of the line, then reset the machine and dig down enough to reinsert the hose for each additional 1,000 ft. "bite" until the line has been completely cleared. A tank of clean water has to be hauled to the site for flushing if no canal or other water source is available.
For more information on the Douven machine (don't call or write Frijters about doing custom work since, he says, he's not able to handle any more than the calls he gets from his own community), contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Douven Tile Cleaner, Frans Frijters, Brunner, Ont., Canada NOK 1CO (ph 519 595-8232).
In Indiana, Don Neidlinger, of Culver, custom cleans field drainage tile with a large machine manufactured by the F. C. Myers Co., Ashland, Ohio.
"I started out with a small foreign-made machine driven off a tractor pto. But I found it was too small and too limited for doing custom work," he told FARM SHOW. "My Myers machine operates on 1,600 lbs. pressure and flushes at the rate of 68 gals. per minute. We use 1,200 ft. of hose and bring it out one-third as fast as it goes in to completely flush the line under pressure."
Neidlinger says he'll go "most anywhere" with his portable rig if enough custom jobs can be lined up in an area to justify the travel expense. His going rate for flushing field drainage tile is 10 cents per running foot. Dirt or sand buildup usually isn't any problem to remove. Buildups of iron bacteria and mineral deposits can be stubborn if they've been building up over a long period of time. If a section of tile line has collapsed or flipped out of position, his hose is measured so he can pinpoint the exact spot to dig down to find the problem.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Neidlinger Drainage Inc., Don Neidlinger, President, Rt. 2, Culver, Ind. 46511 (ph 2

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #6