The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 3, 2011

Special Report, Day 1: Farming flourishes with drainage

— Farm drainage is a relatively straightforward process.

   Farmers bury a series of underground tile lines in their fields with the tile emptying into the open ditches that people are accustomed to seeing as they drive through the countryside.

Those ditches carry the water to lakes, streams and rivers.

The Minnesota River ends up with much of that water — the Minnesota River Basin drains 10 million acres of land, or about 20 percent of the state’s landscape.

Tile drainage was introduced to the United States in 1838 by a Scottish immigrant who labored to lay 72 miles of clay tile on 320 acres of land on his New York farm. The results were phenomenal, jumping his wheat yield form 12 bushels per acre to 60 bushels.

For the complete story, see the Sunday, Dec. 4, print edition of The Free Press or sign on to our e-edition.

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