Infrastructure key part to success for farmers in the North

As you drive down Highway 11, it’s hard to miss the massive grain elevator on Koch Farms property, which holds more than two million bushels.

“We assemble grain here from our own farms and other farms. We buy a lot of grain from farms in northern Ontario and northern Quebec,” said farm owner Norm Koch.

“We bring it in here (and) we have three different grain dryers where we dry grain if it needs it. We have five different pits for unloading trucks and wagons when they come in.”

“So we assemble grain, and then condition it, sell it and deliver it in other places in Ontario and Quebec,” Koch added.

With more than 11,000 acres of property, Koch Farms grows canola, oats, winter and spring wheat and barely.

Koch said it’s not always easy, especially with the unpredictable weather in the north, but said one reason they have success is because of tile drainage.

“The biggest help of anything is tile drainage,” he said.

“Tile drainage gives us two or three weeks more in the spring and two or three weeks more in the fall, and that’s necessary for the crops we do.”

A family-run company called Inglis Farm Drainage installs tile drainage for the Temiskaming Shores area. The company installs more than one million feet of tile drainage a year.

“It is helping the north develop,” said Mike Inglis.

“It enables land that may have not have been productive. It increases the productivity of the land. Because we have a short growing season, it allows us to get on the land earlier and you have a better chance of getting your crops off.”

Inglis told CTV News having tile drainage installed is an investment, but it’s one of the major keys to being a successful farmer in northeastern Ontario.

He said typically jobs takes less than a week, and having the infrastructure benefits the farm right away.

“A trenchless plough, ploughs the pipe into the ground, to a header or a main and then it’s directed to a proper outlet,” said Inglis.

“You can’t put water just anywhere, everything has got to be proper. Everything is in on grade on two and half three feet deep. It all depends on the lay of the land.”