By Natalie Rector
How can anyone think about tile drainage considering the summer of 2012 in Michigan? There are several reasons to consider attending the Farm Drainage and Nutrient Management Field day Aug. 1 and 2 at the Bruce and Jennifer Lewis Farm, 5211 US-12, two miles west of Jonesville in Hillsdale County.
One is to learn about drainage to increase production in those wet years (yes, we’ll have them again) and the other is to learn how to manage nutrients, especially manure in both dry and wet seasons.
Weather and soil in combination are probably the two most dynamic interactive systems on earth. Add tillage, crop rotation, manure, fertilizer, worms, microscopic organisms and tile drainage and then try to predict the consequences of your actions. The field tour will bring in farmers and researchers from five states to help provide farmers with options for managing sub surface drainage to improving yields, reducing runoff during wet seasons and increasing retention of nutrients during any season.
The Chinese proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” could be the motto for the day. While no one can prescribe exact management on drained ground, we can provide insight into the dynamics of the system, how farming operations impact them both negatively and positively and how your management can focus on the positive.
Educational sessions are offered each day at 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m..