Illinois Vegetables

Solving Ponding Issues From Depressions & 'Micro Furrows'

Farmer: David Van Drunen
Location: Illinois, United States
Field Area: 16 ha or 38 acres
Irrigation Method: Sprinkler
Crops: Vegetables

I would give OptiSurface a 10 out of 10 for customer service and product quality. You guys are great!

David Van Drunen
Van Drunen Farms


The Van Drunen's have been farming in Illinois since 1856. Now they are one of the largest growers, manufactures, and suppliers of freeze-dried, drum-dried, low-moisture and frozen specialty products in the USA. They keep their heritage in farming growing 1500 acres of vegetables and herbs such as kale and basil.

We have designed numerous fields for The Van Drunen's to solve surface drainage and erosion issues. Here is a typical field for surface drainage.


A 38ac (16ha) field has ponding issues due to depressions which are exacerbated by micro furrows created by wheel traffic. Machinery wheel tracks create small ruts about an inch high (25mm) which restricts drainage across the traffic direction.

There are existing drainage inlet pipes in the field but the plan was to reduce the number if possible and solve the ponding issues.  See the Drainage Analysis image below.

Figure 1. Existing Topography (left) and Existing Drainage Analysis (right). Drag white slider left or right to view each.


An OptiSurface 2Way is a Surface Type in OptiSurface which can drain in two opposite directions (2Way). This suits crops grown in furrows or even minor wheel tracks where water needs to drain along the furrows or direction of travel but it can drain out to either end of field or at some distance along the furrow using cross drains or taildrains.

The location of the high point in the field is defined using a subzone with the Subzone Type setting of 'Ridge'.  This subzone is placed where the Existing Topography already has the high point to reduce earthworks.

Taildrains are added using subzones at the ends of the field and defining the cross slope to force water to drain and exit to the desired location.

Figure 2. Existing Topography (left) and Proposed Topography (right). Drag white slider left or right to view each.

Below is the Cut/Fill Map required to achieve the Proposed Design. The earthworks were 204 m³/ha (108 yd³/ac).

Figure 3. Proposed Cut/Fill Map

Figure 4. Water Flow Path Direction Map


The Van Drunen's landformed the field, planted some cover crop on it and then it received 3 inches of rain. This is a video of the field as it’s draining.

David said, 'It couldn’t have worked out any better. All the water flowed down the furrows (tire tracks), into the small ditch on the end of the field rows, then perpendicular to the rows at the end of the field and right into the tile inlet. In a matter of a couple hours all of the surface water was drained off the field!'.

Figure 5. Drainage of the field into the tile inlet.

In a matter of a couple hours all of the surface water was drained off the field!

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