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Drainage, subsurface irrigation program planned

By Staff | Mar 13, 2014

AMES – Spring fields and summer droughts can both be mitigated by managing subsurface drainage.

Iowa State University Extension is planning three single-day workshops to explore the opportunities drainage systems offer.

All three events will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday: Bancroft Golf Course, in Bancroft, Kossuth County. Register by calling (515) 295-2469,
  • Wednesday: Clay County Extension office. Register by calling (712) 262-2264.

Thursday: Calhoun County Extension office. Register by calling (712) 297-8611.

The program will explore new drainage designs that help remove excess water in the spring, save or add water in the summer, and reduce nitrogen loss from drained fields.

Current research shows the pumping cost to add or subtract an acre-inch to a field is about 80 cents.

Control structures which maintain the water table and reduce the loss of nitrogen are part of the nutrient-reduction strategy and are eligible for cost-share funding.

Surface intakes have been utilized for decades to remove ponded water from potholes.

Corn stalks and other residues plug the holes, making them a maintenance headache as well as an obstacle in the fields that make them easy to damage with field equipment.

New developments that provide alternatives to surface intakes will be discussed during the programs.

The final program discussion will be on the economics of the drainage system and how to structure agreements between landlords and tenants to get the projects completed.

Attendees will find out how others have resolved money problems on other drainage projects, so that the benefits can be realized.

The cost to attend a workshop is $25, with lunch being provided.

Space is limited. The registration deadline for Calhoun County is Monday.

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