Illinois Oilseeds

Landforming with Quadtrac and Rome Plow

Farmer: Jim Zimmer
Location: Illinois, USA
Field Area: 98 acres or 39.7 hectares
Irrigation Method: none
Crops: Corn and Soybean

Figure 1. Satellite image of the field Atwell.


The problem in the words of the farm manager, Cy Hopper:

The main problem we have is ponding. Our top soil is fairly shallow on this farm and we are just wanting to remove ponding issues with minimal disturbance.

The problem areas can be clearly seen in the satellite image showing dark spots in the field as shown in Figure 1 above. This is supported by the Drainage Analysis in Figure 2 below showing about 20% of the field suffers ponding issues.

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


An OptiSurface 2Way was used to design the field.  This lets water drain along the direction of the traffic falling away from the red ridges and draining at the ends or into the blue cross drains.

Ridge subzones (red) were added to define the high points in the field and valley subzones (blue) for the drains. The natural topography of the field was considered in placing these special subzones which resulted in low earthworks and minimal top soil disturbance.

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

Figure 4. Proposed Cut/Fill Map.


The design shows how to design with OptiSurface 2Way using ridges and valleys. Total earthworks ended up at 70 yd³/ac (132 m³/ha) which is very low compared to traditional methods.

Drone Footage

Here's a video from the client while landforming with his Quadtrac and Rome Plow scraper on the finishing run.

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