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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0304,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15740)
Authors:   B.C. Atherton, L.C. Brown, N.R. Fausey, and F.J. Hitzhusen
Keywords:   Agricultural drainage, drainage contractors, drain installation practices, drain spacing, drain depth

Improved subsurface drainage continues to be a priority for agricultural producers in Ohio. Specialty drainage contractors install much of the subsurface drain pipe. Little research has been reported concerning the design practices and characteristics of subsurface drain installers. To develop background information for the Ohio Agricultural Water Management Guide, a mail survey was conducted to inventory contractor practices and estimate the extent of subsurface drainage installation from 1995-1997.

Respondents were classified into two categories: those that installed subsurface drainage as their main business, and those for which it was a sideline business. Over 90% of the mainline firms had been in business for 11 years or more. Respondents reported the installation of over 10,000 km of drain pipe in 1997. Relatively few controlled drainage and subirrigation system installations were reported. Mainline firms installed about 90% of the total drain pipe installed. These firms rely on experience and self-generated topographic maps as their primary design aids. Many contractors reported the same drain depth and spacing for different soil series, suggesting that the soil type is not a main consideration in their installation. Further education and training may be needed to improve the design practices used by Ohio drainage contractors.

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