Iowa Drainage School to Teach about Farmland Drainage Systems in August

Three-day program offers resources to understand and design subsurface drainage systems

May 30, 2024, 1:33 pm | Kapil Arora, Matt Helmers, Tony Mensing

NASHUA, Iowa – Agricultural drainage is an important management tool for crop production in many areas of Iowa. The design, installation and maintenance of drainage systems is the focus of the Iowa Drainage School to be held Aug. 20 to 22 at the Borlaug Learning Center on Iowa State University’s Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm, near Nashua.

“Iowa Drainage School provides educational opportunities for all interested in drainage, whether they are contractors, farmers, consulting engineers, county officials or others,” said Matt Helmers, professor and agricultural engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The school focuses on the Kapil Arora leading a discussion.fundamentals of drainage design, including getting an accurate survey, drainage pipe size and spacing, controlled drainage and water table management, legal considerations and different installation techniques and equipment.”

The three-day school features classroom lectures and discussions combined with team problem solving and field exercises. Student teams will survey and design a drainage system for a sample area of the host farm, using concepts learned during classroom discussions. By attending this school, participants will be able to plan and lay out subsurface drainage systems and work out project costs. In-field equipment and drainage tile installation demonstrations will also take place.

Drainage contractors, professional engineers and consultants, NRCS professionals, watershed coordinators, county administrators, landowners, drainage district officials and anyone interested in subsurface drainage design and maintenance should consider learning from this school.

Registration is $425 per person before midnight, Aug. 9. Late registration is $475 and must be received by midnight, Aug. 16. Class size is limited, and pre-registration is required. Registration includes meals indicated on the agenda, refreshments, a course notebook and drainage reference materials.

Additional program information and online registration is available at

For assistance with registration or to ask questions, contact Registration Services at 515-294-6222 or

Shareable photo: 1. Drainage tile installation. Participants learning about the pros and cons of drainage tile installation during the Iowa Drainage School.

2. Kapil Arora, extension field agricultural engineer (center) works with students during the drainage design exercise at the Iowa Drainage School.

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