Overholt Drainage School Offers Soil and Water Management Education March 10-14


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Proper subsurface drainage is one part of a winning formula for farmers who want to see increased yields for rotation corn, according to an agricultural engineer with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Proper subsurface drainage can also help growers increase overall yields for corn and soybeans with controlled drainage, according to research from Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center conducted at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station in Hoytville.

Improved drainage is quite beneficial on Ohio’s poorly drained soils for increased and sustained crop yields, said Larry Brown, an agricultural engineer with joint appointments with Ohio State University Extension and OARDC.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

“Subirrigation has even greater potential yield increases (than improved drainage alone),” Brown said. “Crop yield improvements are important, but it is equally important to reduce agriculture’s impacts on our water resources.

“Controlled drainage and subirrigation when properly managed can reduce the losses of soluble nutrients, especially nitrate-nitrogen.”

Farmers, land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians and engineers can learn more about agricultural drainage as well as learn about construction and management of soil and water conservation systems during the annual Overholt Drainage School March 10-14, led by Ohio State and other industry experts.

The school will be held at the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District, 8770 State Route 108, in Wauseon, Ohio.

The program is open to anyone interested in advancing their knowledge of basic concepts, principles and skills related to the purpose, design, layout, construction and management of soil and water conservation systems, with emphasis on water management and water quality, said Brown, who is also a professor in Ohio State’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE).

“The emphasis for this educational program is proper water management on existing cropland, with a focus on balancing food production, economic and environmental goals,” he said.

The program provides continuing education for farmers, land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians, engineers, consultants, sanitarians, and others interested in learning more about the purpose, design, layout, construction and management of soil and water conservation systems, Brown said. 

The conference topics include:

  • Session 1: Agricultural Subsurface Drainage Design, Layout and Installation, March 10-12.
  • Session 2: Drainage Water Management: Controlled Subsurface Drainage Design, Layout and Installation, March 12-13.
  • Session 3: Water Table Management with Sub-irrigation, March 13-14.

The Overholt Drainage School is sponsored by OSU Extension, OARDC, Overholt Drainage Education and Research Program, FABE and CFAES; in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors and Associates.

The full schedule and registration information can be found at http://agcrops.osu.edu/specialists/soil-and-water-management. Participants should mail the registration form by March 6 to Brown at OSU Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, 590 Woody Hayes Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43210. Registration for the full conference is $640, or $500 for session 1, $250 for session 2 and $325 for session 3.

Registration includes tuition, lunches, evening meals, refreshments, materials, supplies, manuals, guides, design notebooks, engineers’ scale, and certificate of completion. Participants should bring a calculator and pencils. A field trip may be offered, so participants may want to consider bringing warm clothes and work boots.

More information on the program can be found at http://agcrops.osu.edu/specialists/soil-and-water-management


Tracy Turner
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Larry C. Brown