GOLD DIGGER STEALTH ZD TILE PLOW FAQ
How many horsepower does it take to pull the tile plow?
In our experience, most western Canadian buyers are looking for either pattern tile installation in fairly heavy soils, or looking to drain depressions through ridges and therefore need to be deep in some places. Therefore, a 400+hp, 40,000lb+ 4WD or tracked machine will be required to pull the tile plow in most cases. At some point you will most likely need to hook on a second tractor too, for example if you are installing 8″ or 10″ pipe at or near maximum depth, or where traction is an issue. Traction tends to be more of an issue than horsepower in many cases.
How deep can I go with it and what size pipe can I install?
The pull-type tile plow has a working depth of 6.5′. The 3-point version has a working depth of 5.5′
Changeable tile boots are available in 4″, 6″, 8″ and 10″ sizes, giving you the ability to install 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″, 8″, and 10″ pipe.
Can’t I just tile by eye without using Intellislope and RTK?
No, not unless you have superhuman powers, or your fields have so much natural slope that you can’t possibly come off-grade!
I’m confused about the difference between Intellislope and WM-Drain and RTK
This is a common question and point of misunderstanding. Both Intellislope and WM-Drain are grade control systems that require an input from a RTK GPS receiver. Intellislope is built into the Ag Leader Integra Display (when you purchase Intellislope from us you receive an Integra Display with Intellislope unlocked in the display) and WM-Drain is built into some of the Trimble displays and requires an unlock to activate it. Whether you run Intellislope or WM-Drain you still need to have GPS receivers that are unlocked to RTK and transmitting RTK signals.
My Trimble dealer says I can only use WM-Drain for grade control because I have Trimble GPS?
This is not true, you can use Trimble GPS receivers that are unlocked to RTK to send the required messages to Intellislope. Please contact us for exact details based on your GPS model.
I have lots of rocks in my fields
Rocks are an issue for tile installation no matter what equipment you use. Until you try tiling in rocky ground its difficult to say how badly they will hinder tile installation. Large rocks above tile installation depth are generally not an issue (unless they are so big they stop you dead) because the tile plow will heave them out. The biggest issue is rocks at install depth because the plow will not be able to get under them to heave them upwards, but rather the plow is lifted and the installed pipe is therefore above the intended grade. In these situations, the operator either stops on top of the rock and restarts the install from this point (thus not going off-grade), or the location will need to be flagged for excavation later.
How many feet or pipe (or acres) can I install in a day?
Many factors affect how many feet you can lay in a day. As a guide, our experience has been that about 25,000 to 35,000 feet (or 25 to 35 acres) in a day is realistic for pattern tile projects, and about 5,000 to 10,000 feet per day if we are installing 6 or 8 inch pipe to drain potholes.
Do I need RTK or can I tile with WAAS, Omnistar, laser etc?
Tiling with GPS is so much more efficient than using a laser system that you really shouldn’t consider a laser unless your fields have completely uniform slope. Using RTK GPS is an absolute must as less accurate systems will result in installations that don’t work at all, or don’t work very well. Using automated grade control like Intellislope combined with RTK is the only way to achieve the kind of accuracy needed. Intellislope will not allow you to tile unless you have RTK!
My equipment dealer is suggesting I go with their radio or cell based RTK for tiling For tiling it is always recommended to use a mobile base station that you set up on the field you are tiling. The only time we’d endorse running on a network is if all your land is within a couple of miles of the dealer’s base station. A cellular system will mean you are likely tens of miles from the actual base station (even if you are close to a cell tower this doesn’t mean you are close to the base). We have yet to find anyone that will stand behind these systems when we ask them to guarantee they are accurate enough for tiling.
Should I upgrade my existing GPS or buy a separate RTK for tiling?This really depends on what you have now and your need for RTK for other operations. If you feel the benefit of RTK for seeding, spraying, and harvest is worth the cost of upgrading then that is the way to go. On the other hand, many of our clients are very happy with the accuracy they get with Omnistar etc and it actually works out considerably cheaper for them to purchase a system like the Hemisphere A320/321 kit that we offer that they can use for tiling. The other benefit here is that you don’t have to take the GPS from the tractor or other equipment to use on the tile plow, and you can still use your Omnistar for steering while tiling. (If you do upgrade your existing equipment remember you’ll need a GPS receiver on the plow plus one for on the tractor if you want to be able to steer while tiling).
What do you recommend for grade control?
Some of our existing clients have tried to use grade control systems offered by the well-known equipment and GPS manufacturers. All have ended up coming back to us to buy Intellislope. The two main issues with other systems were lack of support (nobody in the dealership understands anything about tiling), and difficulty getting the systems to work correctly. Intellislope was designed primarily for use with Gold Digger tile plows. We only sell Intellislope, and cannot offer support for other systems.
I heard someone say that tractor-drawn plows aren’t as good as self-propelled units
The most common causes of tile failure or poor performance are incorrect system design, incorrect choice of pipe specification (e.g. filtered/non-filtered), and operator error, not plow-related causes. For a full-time contractor a self-propelled tile plow is the tool of choice because they can spool their own pipe and even cut & crimp the ends of each run, plus lift the plow up out of the ground if required, thus reducing down time and manpower required. A tractor-drawn plow (whether pull-type or frame mounted) cannot be lifted out of the ground so if you hook on a big rock you’ll be digging. As far as staying on-grade, tractor drawn/mounted plows use plow pitch to maintain grade while self-propelled units can directly control depth to maintain grade. Both methods are proven effective. The bottom-line: If you have $750k to spare then go buy a self-propelled plow and you’ll probably install a few more feet in a day. Given the choice of a competent operator running a Gold Digger or an incompetent operator running a self-propelled plow we’d choose the Gold Digger every time!
Will you teach me how to use it?
Yes! If you purchase a plow from us we can deliver it and set it up with your tractor and GPS equipment . Provided the conditions allow, we’ll also spend some time with you actually getting the plow in the ground and going through the steps and procedures required to operate the plow.
We also run introductory tile drainage workshops from time to time, click here for more info.
Do you operate and/or sell tile plows in Alberta or Ontario?
We don’t have a location in Alberta or Ontario or offer custom tile installation (yet) but we do deliver, setup, and provide training in plow operation. We now have over a dozen plows on the ground in Alberta. We’ve actually found that we are able to offer better service and support than dealers that are much closer because we actually tile ourselves and understand it!