Agricultural Drainage set at Field Tech Day

STRYKER, OH -- Save the date and plan on joining your friends and neighbors for the Williams County Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) annual Field Technology Day Thursday, Aug. 11. The place to be is Steve Planson’s Farm east of Stryker starting at 5 p.m.

Our guest speaker is Dr. Larry C. Brown. He is an Ohio State University Professor and Extension Agricultural Engineer, the Director of Overholt Drainage Education and Research Program, and the Director of the International Program for Water Management in Agriculture. Come learn from Dr. Brown’s vast knowledge on agricultural drainage as he explains managing agricultural drainage, using drainage control systems for water quality improvements in the Midwest, drainage control structures – what are they, what do they do, and how do you manage them to benefit your farm and water drainage. How do structures help your crops and what affect do they have on phosphorus leaving your fields.

Florian Chirra, Williams County OSU Extension, states that drainage water management is the practice of using a water control structure in a main, submain, or lateral drain to vary the depth of the drainage outlet. The water table must rise above the outlet depth for drainage to occur. The outlet depth is determined by adjustments made to the control structure and the season of the year. Dr. Brown will cover drainage water management which relies on natural rainfall to raise the water table and the water table will fluctuate below that depth without sufficient rainfall, unlike sub-irrigation.  He will talk about how many acres a structure can handle and how to manage the system during the growing season. You will also be able to see one in operation at the Planson Farm.

Dr. Brown will also discuss replacing tile stand pipes/tile risers with blind-inlets. Tile risers/stand pipes have been used for years to help drain low lying wet areas in the field; but they are a direct conduit offering no filtering of surface water runoff into agricultural drainage ditches or streams.  Dr. Brown will discuss how replacing tile risers with blind inlets can help reduce roughly 90% of the sediments and contaminants from drainage water. Another one of the benefits for farmers here in NW Ohio using a blind inlet is the ability to drive equipment over the inlet, as opposed to having to drive around a standard tile riser.

Planson Farms is a sixth generation family farm that is using succession planning to incorporate the seventh generation family into the farming business. Planson Farms grows corn, soybeans, wheat, and processing tomatoes. They have included multiple programs into its business over the years. Some of the most recent include drainage control structures, a fertilizer containment center, adding CRP ground and installing waterways where necessary. The farm also uses a four-year crop rotation program and plants a cover crop of clover.

Ryan & Carrie Sanders, Soil Health Partnership Demo Farmers, Grains and Greens, Inc. and Clint Nester, Ag Consultant with Nester Ag, LLC are working with Dr. Hans Kok and the Soil Health Partnership in testing and measuring different innovative management practices on 65 demo farms throughout the Corn Belt, to understand improvements to soil health and the economic and environmental impacts to farmers. They will share their experience with soil health testing, cover crops mixes and burn downs, and data connected to soil, yield, and water impacts. Led by the National Corn Growers Association, the SHP wants to help provide the spark for greater understanding and more broadly implementing agricultural practices that work best. They hope the results, support, and resources of this farmer-led project will benefit farmers’ bottom lines and agricultural sustainability.

Chris Davis, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Resource Soil Scientist, will show soil profile properties using a soil pit.

This event is sponsored by the Williams SWCD, Conservation Action Program (CAP), OSU Extension Williams County (OSU), and the Soil Health Partnership (SHP).

There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required for dinner. Call the Williams SWCD office at 419-636-9395 Ext 3 or 419-636-2349 Ext 3 by August 5th to make your reservation. Join us for an evening meal and take home some innovative ideas from an informative presentation and discussion. Planson Farm is located at 22199 County Road F (follow the signs), Stryker, Ohio.