Drainage Education in Eastern Iowa

Name and Position/Title: 
Greg Brenneman, Extension Ag Engineer

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
160  Natural Resources and Stewardship 

Drainage Education in Eastern Iowa

Agricultural drainage has become increasingly important in SE Iowa with the past several years being very wet.  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. 

To address questions farmers and contractors in SE Iowa have regarding subsurface drainage, a multi part approach has been taken.  In the past 10 years, two research sites have been established at the SE Research Farm to look at tile drainage spacing, drainage depth, and controlled drainage.  Field days were held as a part of the drainage installation and as follow-up field tours.  Information from these studies has been used at numerous meetings throughout SE Iowa to discuss current drainage recommendations and drainage design.  A three-day Iowa Drainage School has also been conducted for the past 3 years training 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.  The first two years the Iowa Drainage School was held in central Iowa and in 2009 it was held at the SE Research Farm.

The field days and meetings in SE Iowa have reached an estimated 500 producers and contractors with drainage design information.  In addition, the Iowa Drainage School has reached 70 individuals with detailed, hands-on training.  Evaluations from this past years Drainage School showed the 24 participants impacting over 20,000 acres/year.  All of the participants rated the school as good or excellent and anticipated increased revenues in excess of $60,000.  When asked, How will you apply the knowledge gained from this program, responses included “designing systems for my customers”, “be able to ask contractors some intelligent questions”, “as a starting point to getting into the tile business”, “it gives me a better understanding why tile systems are placed the way they are”, “better oversight of contractors and better design of my own tile installations”, and “trouble shooting current drainage problems along without future tile projects.”


160 Natural Resources and Stewardship 


Page last updated: May 5, 2010
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