Illinois Grain

Eliminating Ponding Issues For Under $170/ac

Farmer: Jeff Kelly
Location: Illinois, USA
Field Area: 165 acres or 67 hectares
Irrigation Method: none
Crops: Corn, Soybean, Seedcorn

"After significant rainfall, I flew up in my plane and got some pictures. As far as you can see, ponds are gleaming in everybody's field. I looked into my field which I have just completed and there wasn't one pond standing on that field."

Jeff Kelly
Frymire Farms

Figure 1. Aerial shot of Jeff Kelly's field (after landforming) just after a rainfall event.


The client is in Northwest Illinois and operate about 3000 acres, most of them tiled but still experience ponding issues.

The Existing Topography shows the low lying areas can clearly be seen and mini furrows (about 1 inch high) created by machinery traffic exacerbate the ponding issue as confirmed by the Drainage Analysis below.

Figure 2. Existing Topography (left) and Existing Drainage Analysis (right) of North Frymire. Drag the slider left or right to view each.


An OptiSurface 2Way surface type was used to design the field.  This lets water drain in along the direction of the traffic mini furrows then draining at the ends or a defined cross drain.

Ridge subzone were added to define the high points in the field and valley subzones for the drains. The natural topography of the field was considered in placing these special subzones which resulted in low earthworks.

Figure 3. Existing Topography (left) and Proposed Topography (right) of Frymire North. Drag the slider left or right to view each.

Figure 4. Proposed Cut/Fill Map of Frymire North.


The design shows how to design with OptiSurface 2Way using ridges and valleys. This allowed water to exit to one point and eliminated all existing pipe inlets in the field. Total earthworks ended up at 95 yd³/ac (180 m³/ha) which is very low compared to tradition methods.

Jeff was very happy saying:

Everything I have OptiSurfaced, I haven't had to replant anything (due to drown outs). That's pretty cool!

I've also got rid of dozens of surface drains (inlet pipes).

Client Testimonial

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