Agricultural & Turf Drainage

Agricultural & Turf Drainage

Culverts, field drainage, underdrains

Culverts & Highways Icon

Agricultural & Turf Drainage

Corrugated pipe is lightweight and flexible for easy handling and installation.

Agricultural sites often use corrugated plastic pipe for culverts and field drainage. Culverts are often short — usually just wide enough for equipment to drive over — and must withstand substantial traffic loads.

Field drainage is an underground network of pipe used to collect groundwater and/or surface water. In low-lying areas, surface water can be collected using vertical risers which allow water to flow into the pipe below ground. Groundwater enters the buried pipe through perforations. Field drains typically discharge to a local ditch or other waterway. The type of native soil and the crops grown on the site will determine the pipe diameter, spacing, and depth of burial for optimum crop growth.

Versatile installations

Agricultural drainage requirements vary widely. Pipe is available in 2-in (50 mm) up to 60-in (1500 mm) diameter, with a full line of fittings, and a range of joint qualities. Pipe variations include a smooth interior, perforations and various geotextile socks.

Agricultural Water Management 101
Agricultural Dual-Wall Installation
PPI has developed this video channel as a service to the industry. The information presented here is offered in good faith and believed to be accurate, but is offered without any warranty, expressed or implied including WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Any reference to particular proprietary product should not be construed as an endorsement by PPI, which does not endorse the proprietary products or processes of any manufacturer. PPI assumes no responsibility for viewer's compliance with applicable laws and regulations..


Effective Drainage

Groundwater flow into field drainage systems is typically limited by the soil's ability to give up groundwater; pipe perforations almost never limit system effectiveness. Field drainage is normally installed with native soil backfill, but a granular backfill will improve the drainage response and structural support. In some applications, a geotextile sock on the outside of the pipe is used to reduce suspended solids and sediment from entering the drainage system.

Withstands traffic loads in minimum cover applications

Farming operations may use semi-trucks and other heavy equipment. When backfilled correctly with a compacted granular material, 48-in (1200 mm) diameter and smaller require a minimum of 1 ft (0.3 m) of cover; larger diameters require 2 ft (0.6 m) of cover.


  • TN-37 Standard Practice for Installation of Annular Corrugated Profile Wall Polyethylene Pipe for Agricultural Drainage or Water Table Control - unavailable, currently under review. Contact PPI staff with questions.
  • TR 42 Agriculture and Drainage - Inseparable Science Unavailable; under review for withdrawal. Contact PPI Staff with questions.