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Trenching with Subsoiler

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ValleyView

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Anybody have first hand experience using a subsoiler to trench waterline. Looking to lay 1500’ of 3/4” waterline. Hard clay ground and 46hp tractor.

Trying to avoid cutting a large trench w Ditching Machine. Thanks for any input!
 

Nesikep

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I don't know if a 46hp tractor would pull it and put it down deep enough.. I'd use this but use only the center shank

18870080_10154420071231790_1970098192_o.jpg
 

JMJ Farms

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I put in around 1700’ with a subsoiler a few years back. 46HP is gonna be the limiting factor. Pull it once as deep as you can. Then pull it the second time as deep as you can. When you’re satisfied with the depth, attach the pipe (with a cap on it) to the bottom of the shank with really stout wire and start pulling slowly. Works good if you’ve got the pipe stretched out and glued well before you start pulling.
 

ValleyView

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I put in around 1700’ with a subsoiler a few years back. 46HP is gonna be the limiting factor. Pull it once as deep as you can. Then pull it the second time as deep as you can. When you’re satisfied with the depth, attach the pipe (with a cap on it) to the bottom of the shank with really stout wire and start pulling slowly. Works good if you’ve got the pipe stretched out and glued well before you start pulling.
Thanks for the info!

Did you find it to leave a smaller trench than a ditching machine? I just don’t want a 6” ditch for 3/4” pipe. There a few videos on YouTube that make it look somewhat simple. I am undecided between poly and pvc at the moment, but hired out 1000” of 2” pvc last year for $5 a foot so I’d like to take a crack at this myself.

What subsoiler did you use and how many HP did you have at your disposal?
 

Farmgirl

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Put in some water line earlier this summer with a single shank subsoiler and a 45 hp tractor. It was dry, dry and the ground was hard. Made several passes through it before hooking up the pipe. Would have been able to bury deeper if there was moisture in the ground but still did ok. Black pipe not pvc.
 

Nesikep

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I think you'll have to go with the black poly, the white PVC usually isn't flexible. with that long a run make sure you factor in pressure drop, you might want to do 1"
Here's a chart
pipe flow chart.png


If you want 10GPM over 1500 ft, you're going to have a pressure loss of 5.22x15 (15 lengths of 100 ft) = 78 psi.. so you need to have 78psi at the start to get 10gpm with an open end.. Alternately, if you have a 50PSI system pressure, (50/15 lengths of 100 ft = 3.33), and you look at the table for 3.33 PSI loss, you're going to be slightly under 8GPM

If you go to 1", you only need 28 PSI to get 10GPM open ended
1602779686558.png
 

JMJ Farms

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Thanks for the info!

Did you find it to leave a smaller trench than a ditching machine? I just don’t want a 6” ditch for 3/4” pipe. There a few videos on YouTube that make it look somewhat simple. I am undecided between poly and pvc at the moment, but hired out 1000” of 2” pvc last year for $5 a foot so I’d like to take a crack at this myself.

What subsoiler did you use and how many HP did you have at your disposal?
I used a 90 HP FWD and a homemade subsoiler. I also used 3/4” PVC. It was cheaper than the black poly at the time.
 

ga.prime

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I've got experience trenching with a subsoil plow and I'm here to say it is far better to rent a self propelled trenching machine for the job. You only need to rent it for half a day, the trencher tool can do 1700 ft in an hour or two in the hardest most root infested ground you can find at whatever depth you want. I wouldn't go less than 12-18 inches or you'll end up cutting it with a harrow or something similar.
 

simme

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I've got experience trenching with a subsoil plow and I'm here to say it is far better to rent a self propelled trenching machine for the job. You only need to rent it for half a day, the trencher tool can do 1700 ft in an hour or two in the hardest most root infested ground you can find at whatever depth you want. I wouldn't go less than 12-18 inches or you'll end up cutting it with a harrow or something similar.
When I built my house, I needed about 1700 feet of water line. I used a skid steer with a rental 6" wide trenching attachment. Plenty of HP. Target was about 2 feet deep. Ground was heavy clay. I was not even close to trenching that in 2 hours. More like 8 or 10 hours. When I tried to go faster, the internal torque limiter bypass in the attachment would open -stopping the rotation. It was a nice Bradco attachment. Just my experience. When I did the parallel gas line, it was dryer and slower. I think soil type and moisture are big factors no matter the method used. Rocks will slow the trenching down. Not sure what happens when you pull the pipe along side a rock.

I used 1.25" PVC. I figured I needed a minimum of 50 psig at the house. Also had a takeoff for a cattle water tub that I considered in the flow/pressure calcs. Better to oversize than undersize - at least in my case for a house.
 

KAstocker

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A guy near me rented a trencher last year to put in some water line for livestock. I think he put in about a quarter mile. It took him about half a day. He said it was pretty easy to work with. I didn't ask, but I'm sure he put it in 18-24" deep.
 

cfpinz

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When I built my house, I needed about 1700 feet of water line. I used a skid steer with a rental 6" wide trenching attachment. Plenty of HP. Target was about 2 feet deep. Ground was heavy clay. I was not even close to trenching that in 2 hours. More like 8 or 10 hours. When I tried to go faster, the internal torque limiter bypass in the attachment would open -stopping the rotation. It was a nice Bradco attachment. Just my experience. When I did the parallel gas line, it was dryer and slower. I think soil type and moisture are big factors no matter the method used. Rocks will slow the trenching down. Not sure what happens when you pull the pipe along side a rock.

I used 1.25" PVC. I figured I needed a minimum of 50 psig at the house. Also had a takeoff for a cattle water tub that I considered in the flow/pressure calcs. Better to oversize than undersize - at least in my case for a house.
That's interesting. I've used a friend's trencher on our old NH LX885 in heavy red clay here at the house and it was inline with ga.prime's estimates. It's about 400 feet from the shop to my barn and it took less than an hour to trench. I wonder if the rental company has the trencher adjusted to kick out early?
 

1982vett

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Around here, rented trenchers are notorious for having worn out teeth on the chains....
 

ga.prime

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Don't remember what name brand it was but the trencher I rented was a walk behind with an electric starter. When I went to unload it at the job site I turned the starter with the chain in gear and it ripped the front railing off the trailer.
 

pdubdo

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tried this over a 1700 ft stretch, laying 1” poly pipe. The YouTube videos made it look easy. first, my depth was uneven, with some poly pipe ending up only a few inches below surface. Then the pipe would snag just a bit off the subsoiler, pulling the other end 8-12” from spot to connect to the main line. i used push-connectors and every one of them leaked because its hard to work with the line when it’s buried except for the hole you dig at the connection spot. Prob spent at least 10-15 hrs jimmying/reworking/pulling out and redragging pipe. finally decided plumbing is not my strength and hired it out to some guys who were done in under 2 hrs. If your soil cooperates and can lay the line in a single piece, or you are good at high quality connections, hopefully you have better success!
 

ga.prime

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That's it, pdub, The subsoil plow will not, in addition to other drawbacks, maintain an even depth across varying conditions.
 

ValleyView

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Appreciate everyone’s input on this matter. At this juncture, I believe I will be renting a trencher and going about it that way.

I am still undecided on poly/pvc but would prefer poly if I can figure out the connections, Spigot plumbing, etc. I’m good at a handful of things, but plumbing does not hit the top 50% of the list!
 

ValleyView

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I think you'll have to go with the black poly, the white PVC usually isn't flexible. with that long a run make sure you factor in pressure drop, you might want to do 1"
Here's a chart
View attachment 388


If you want 10GPM over 1500 ft, you're going to have a pressure loss of 5.22x15 (15 lengths of 100 ft) = 78 psi.. so you need to have 78psi at the start to get 10gpm with an open end.. Alternately, if you have a 50PSI system pressure, (50/15 lengths of 100 ft = 3.33), and you look at the table for 3.33 PSI loss, you're going to be slightly under 8GPM

If you go to 1", you only need 28 PSI to get 10GPM open ended
View attachment 389
Nesikep, thanks for the chart! The NRCS is involved and much to my surprise they would allow 3/4”. It’s coming off a 2” PVC line and has 16’ of fall from current source to final destination. Depending on cost I may bump it up. Now I just need to brush up on rubber tire tanks specs and get busy!
 

Nesikep

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Nesikep, thanks for the chart! The NRCS is involved and much to my surprise they would allow 3/4”. It’s coming off a 2” PVC line and has 16’ of fall from current source to final destination. Depending on cost I may bump it up. Now I just need to brush up on rubber tire tanks specs and get busy!
buy once, cry once.. 3/4 is really small on such a long line, I'd go with the 1"
Around here our entire mainline is 2" and most branch lines are 1 1/2".. we used the white PVC glue together, but you have to bed it in sand really carefully, a rock on it and it'll crack, PVC is far more forgiving
Our entire line is also buried 6 ft, and while we could get away with a depth of 3-4 ft and not freeze, the water actually warms just a little bit at that depth, since we are a gravity system and don't have to worry about pump costs, all our waterers just flow 5-10gpm all winter and they never freeze up.. only danger for us is if our intake slushes over and stops the flow, then they standpipes could freeze
 

ValleyView

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tried this over a 1700 ft stretch, laying 1” poly pipe. The YouTube videos made it look easy. first, my depth was uneven, with some poly pipe ending up only a few inches below surface. Then the pipe would snag just a bit off the subsoiler, pulling the other end 8-12” from spot to connect to the main line. i used push-connectors and every one of them leaked because its hard to work with the line when it’s buried except for the hole you dig at the connection spot. Prob spent at least 10-15 hrs jimmying/reworking/pulling out and redragging pipe. finally decided plumbing is not my strength and hired it out to some guys who were done in under 2 hrs. If your soil cooperates and can lay the line in a single piece, or you are good at high quality connections, hopefully you have better success!
Thanks for the info, Pdub! You make it sound about as terrible as I expect it to go for me!
 

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