Tiling Designs Taught at the Iowa Drainage School

Kapil Arora, Field Specialist-Agricultural Engineering, Central; Greg Brenneman, Field Specialist-Agricultural Engineering, Southeast; and Matt Helmers, Faculty-Ag & Biosystems Engineering

Problem Statement:

Agricultural farm drainage is becoming increasingly important due to the critical role it plays for Iowa’s emerging bio-economy.  Drainage systems that are properly designed and operating are essential to achieving excellent agricultural production capability.  People looking to install a new drainage system or retrofit an existing system need to be trained on drainage design concepts, economics of drainage, water management, and legal issues related to drainage. 

Programmatic Response:

Iowa State University Extension, in collaboration with University of Minnesota Extension, and Natural Resource Conservation Service delivered a three-day Iowa Drainage School.  The school trained participants on sub-surface drainage concepts, the design and layout of drainage systems, calculating line sizes and spacing using actual field data, making connections and setting up drainage control structures, and review of NRCS regulatory considerations for sub-surface drainage.

Outcome Statement:

Twenty four participants worked through the hands-on school and 15 complete evaluations were received.  All participants completing evaluations rated the program good or excellent. All of participants rated different topics covered in the school to be good or excellent for their use.  All participants, when asked what they learned from the school and how they will use it, indicated that the school helped them to better understand drainage design concepts.  Individual topics of learning varied between basics of surveying, creating the topographic map, how to establish elevations and use that information to design a tile line, drainage control device can be used on farm pond, what not to do on connections, etc.  In responding to the question which method of drainage design learned in the school will you adopt in your operation/work, 67% of the participants indicated that they will use drainage slide rules and 33% indicated that they will use computer aided design.  When asked how the knowledge gained in the school will be applied, individual comments included: “Evaluating invoices turned into the courthouse”, “Better design the tile I place on my farm”, “Will use to evaluate problems with current drainage system”, “Better for all help. So it will make my job as a foreman easier”, “By taking a more active role in design instead of just running the plow”, “It will help in understanding producers needs”, etc.


160 - Natural Resources and Stewardship

Page last updated: April 6, 2009
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