Improved drainage is quite beneficial on Ohio's poorly drained soils for increased and sustained crop yields, says Larry Brown, an agricultural engineer with joint appointments with Ohio State University Extension and OARDC.
"Subirrigation has even greater potential yield increases (than improved drainage alone)," Brown says. "Crop yield improvements are important, but it is equally important to reduce agriculture's impacts on our water resources.
"Controlled drainage and subirrigation when properly managed can reduce the losses of soluble nutrients, especially nitrate-nitrogen."
Farmers, land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians and engineers can learn more about agricultural drainage as well as learn about construction and management of soil and water conservation systems during the annual Overholt Drainage School March 10-14, led by Ohio State and other industry experts.
The school will be held at the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District, 8770 State Route 108, in Wauseon.
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The program is open to anyone interested in advancing their knowledge of basic concepts, principles and skills related to the purpose, design, layout, construction and management of soil and water conservation systems, with emphasis on water management and water quality.
"The emphasis for this educational program is proper water management on existing cropland, with a focus on balancing food production, economic and environmental goals," Brown says.
The program provides continuing education for farmers, land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians, engineers, consultants, sanitarians, and others interested in learning more about the purpose, design, layout, construction and management of soil and water conservation systems, Brown said.
The conference topics include:
Session 1: Agricultural Subsurface Drainage Design, Layout and Installation, March 10-12.
Session 2: Drainage Water Management: Controlled Subsurface Drainage Design, Layout and Installation, March 12-13.
Session 3: Water Table Management with Sub-irrigation, March 13-14.
More information, including the full schedule and registration can be found online. Participants should mail the registration form by March 6 to Brown at OSU Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, 590 Woody Hayes Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43210. Registration for the full conference is $640, or $500 for session 1, $250 for session 2 and $325 for session 3.
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