Illinois Grain Field

Drone Captures Video Of Drainage Improvements

Location:  Illinois, USA
Field Area:  151 ac or 61 ha
Irrigation:  Dryland/rainfed with no furrows.
Crops: Corn/Soybeans

"Customer is extremely happy because it's way better than previously."

Justin Fleck
Consultant, Precision Ag Visions LLC


This field experiences water logging issues creating small ponds of water scattered all over the field affecting yield and machinery efficiency.

Existing Topography

Existing Drainage Analysis Map

Design Parameters and Results

This field is designed to eliminate the ponding issues using OptiSurface4Way.  This surface type lets water drain out of the field to any direction which is best suited for dryland fields.

Drain water is not allowed to drain to neighbor's field in the east so a 'Ridge' subzone (shown as red polygon) to prevent water draining out there.

The initial design had deep cuts near the road along the north and west boundary that the road commissioner called them out.  To fix the drainage issues without having these deep cuts, the green subzone were added and the maximum cut was limited to 6 inches for that areas.

These parameters were used for the design:

This resulted to Cut Volumes of 12,070 yd3 and only 80 yd3/ac of earthworks!

Proposed Topography

Proposed Cut/Fill Map

Drone Video Analysis

This video shows how OptiSurface fixed the drainage problems of this field.  Neighboring fields clearly show water logging issues in the area, while this field have fixed them up.  Few remaining ponded areas can be seen in the video which are discussed in the Post Operation Analysis section below.

Special thanks to Justin Fleck of Precison Ag Visions, an OptiSurface Partner in Illinois, for sharing this video with us.

There are two spots in the field that still ponds water.  The Existing Drainage Analysis Map above highlights these areas.

The one in the SE is due to the adjacent neighbor’s field in the south.  OptiSurface Designer assumes water will be taken care of once out of the boundary.  Drain water cannot escape and drain out to that adjacent field.  An easy solution is to add a drain channel along the south boundary and let it drain to the SW corner, as shown by the blue arrow.

The other ponded area in the NW just needs re-finishing up.   Some cutting and filling may have been missed by the operator as the Proposed Topography clearly shows it will drain off to the west boundary.

These retouches will ensure there will be no more ponding areas in the field.


OptiSurface4Way was used to design the field, allowing water to meander out of the field in any direction.  A special subzone called 'Ridge' was used to prevent water from exiting the east boundary of the field.  The designer may also opt to add a ridge subzone along the south boundary to prevent water from draining to the south adjacent field.

With certain requirements like maximum cut depth enforced by the road commissioner, another subzone was placed along the west and north boundary.  The Allowable Max Cut Depth was defined for that area.

Fixing the ponding issues of this field took only 80 yd3/ac of earthworks and the video captured by the drone confirms the effectiveness of OptiSurface.

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