CRAWFORDSVILLE, Iowa -- Iowa’s bountiful harvests wouldn’t be a reality without underground drainage. After years of installing tile in farm fields to increase drainage to improve yields and profits, questions are being asked about environmental impacts. New technologies that may minimize negative environmental impacts will be installed and demonstrated July 12 at the Iowa State University (ISU) Southeast Iowa Research Farm near Crawfordsville.
Several tile drainage research efforts will be launched that day as part of a major study. ISU Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with tile manufacturers and local tiling contractors, will install controlled drainage systems and construct a wetland. The demonstrations will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
One project will investigate controlled drainage to determine if this system has an advantage in southeast Iowa over conventional drainage.Controlled drainage allows excess soil moisture lower in the subsoil to be held early in the season in case it is needed later during dry weather.
A wetland will be constructed to see if it results in lower nitrates in tile water exiting the property. Tile will also be placed to compare shallow, close spacing of drainage tile to deeper, wider spacing. Both plowing and trenching machines will be demonstrated.
Matt Helmers, ISU Extension agricultural engineer, and Greg Brenneman, ISU Extension field engineer in southeast Iowa, will supervise the research conducted at the farm and collect data for several years. Both will be at the field day to speak to attendees, along with Jim Baker, ISU professor emeritus.
Commercial and educational exhibits related to tile installation, wetlands, soil drainage and water quality will be on display. Certified crop advisors can obtain three hours of soil and water continuing education credit by attending a special session from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There is a $40 fee for credit.
Rain date is July 13. Food will be available for purchase. For more information contact Jim Jensen, ISU Extension farm management specialist (319) 385-8126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The farm is located 1 ¾ miles south of Crawfordsville on Highway 218, then 2 miles east on County Road G-62, then ¾ mile north. Watch for ISU field day signs on Highway 218.