College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Workshop to address the strengths and constraints of farmland drainage

Sub-surface drainage is an important part of agriculture in Iowa and a day-long workshop on March 11 will focus on topics of interest that have emerged around farmland drainage.

The Farmland Drainage Workshop will be held from 8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the V.F.W. Post in Osage, Iowa.

The morning session will focus on sub-surface drainage design concepts, wetland determinations, the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and the long-term benefits of tiling. The afternoon session will include discussions on economics, nutrient cycling in soils, controlled drainage, bioreactors, saturated buffers and managing drainage water quality with wetlands. Legal issues related to tiling and Iowa drainage laws also will be covered.

The workshop will also instruct attendees about environmental impacts and new technologies that may be useful in minimizing negative environmental impacts.

“This program will provide information essential for designing and planning a new drainage system or retrofitting an existing system,” said Kapil Arora, field agricultural engineer with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Additional speakers include Kelvin Leibold, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach; Matt Helmers, professor and extension agricultural engineer in the Iowa State Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering; Mike Castellano, Iowa State University associate professor in agronomy; Jamie Benning, water quality program manager at ISU Extension and Outreach, and John Baker, administrator with the Beginning Famer Center at Iowa State University. USDA-NRCS drainage specialist Jim Gertsma and Chris Hay, senior environmental scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association, will also speak at this event.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Farm Bureau of Mitchell County, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Soybean Checkoff, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and various industry partners are sponsoring the program.

Industry representatives from Prinsco, ADS-Hancor, Midwest Plastic Products, and Agri-Drain will be available during the workshop to answer any questions. The workshop qualifies for Certified Crop Advisor credits, which have been applied for.

Registration is $50 before March 7 and $60 after that date. Workshop materials, morning refreshments and lunch are included. Participants can register by completing the form located at and making payment to Mitchell County Extension. For more information, download the workshop brochure or call ISU Extension and Outreach in Mitchell County at 641-732-5574.

Original story by Kapil Arora, agricultural engineer.