COLUMBUS, Ohio – Understanding what drainage system works best on what type of farmland can help growers significantly improve yields as well as soil and water quality, an Ohio State University Extension expert said.
Using the right drainage system on a corn crop, for example, can increase yields by some 30 percent, said Bruce Clevenger, an OSU Extension educator. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“The Midwest is dominated by the use of agricultural drainage because our soils tend to be very wet throughout the region,” he said. “We typically have wet periods throughout the growing season in which excess water can damage yields and prevent us from planting in a timely manner.
“One advantage of using the right drainage system is that it improves the drivability of farm equipment across farmland to reduce soil compaction, because dry soils compact less than wet soils.”
To provide growers with more information on drainage systems, OSU Extension will host a free webinar April 9 that will give detailed information on why growers should drain their fields and how to calculate the financial implications of installing or repairing drainage systems, he said.
Clevenger, along with OSU Extension educator Eric Richer, will present the webinar, “Return to Drainage: Calculating the Payback Period.”
“Historically, we’ve relied on drainage to keep our crop yields profitable, but sometimes those systems need to be replaced or improvements need to be made,” Clevenger said. “The webinar will teach farmers and landowners how they can benefit from a properly designed drainage system.
“We’ll also discuss how to estimate the cost of subsurface (tile) drainage and estimate a drainage payback period for your farmland.”
The program will also address how improved field drainage has yield, soil quality and water quality advantages compared to poor field drainage; whether today’s crop prices make drainage a good investment; and whether a drainage system can be designed to address water quality concerns, he said.
The webinar runs from 7-8:30 p.m. and can be viewed online at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/ohioagmanager. No pre-registration is required.
For more information about the webinar, contact Clevenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-782-4771.