Illinois Quadtrac

Landforming With A Quadtrac And A Rome Scraper

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 owner Jim:

Our problem with this farm is the significant ponding. We have tile inlets in each pond but they do not drain fast enough to prevent yield loss.

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. This analysis assumes machinery traffic direction are going north-south which slightly inhibits surface drainage in the east-west direction.

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

The yield map with an average yield of 68.8 bu/acre corroborate the drainage analysis and satellite images as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Existing Drainage Analysis (left) Yield Map  (right). Drag the slider left or right to view each.


An OptiSurface 2Way was used to design the field with the main slope direction north-south.  This lets water drain along the direction of the traffic falling away from the red ridges and draining to the edge of the field or into the blue cross drain.

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

Figure 5. Proposed Cut/Fill Map.


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

And another video from the operator showing his perspective on the landforming operation.

If you want to see how this field drains after rainfall? Watch this video at about 6:28 mark.


Total earthworks ended up at 70 yd³/ac (132 m³/ha) which is very low compared to traditional methods.

Jim was very happy saying:

The OptiSurface design worked perfectly along with the Quadtrac and Rome scraper. We've really transformed this field and we're excited to see how it performs in the coming season.

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