Learn about Smart Agricultural Drainage Systems June 4 and 5

Workshops designed for farmers and landowners to highlight new innovation in smart ag drainage systems

May 14, 2024, 11:25 am | Elizabeth Ripley, Jacqueline Comito

AMES, Iowa – Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University and Michigan State University, will host two smart agricultural drainage system workshops from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at the Borlaug Learning Center near Nashua, and Wednesday, June 5, at the Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland.

Farmers and landowners are welcome and a meal is included. Iowa Learning Farms is an educational conservation program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Tile drainage is among the most important land use improvements for agriculture, with about 50% of Iowa’s cropland having systems installed. Drained croplands produce a disproportionately large amount of grain compared to total croplands, but also deliver a disproportionately large amount of nitrate to downstream waterways. A new "smart" agricultural drainage system project is exploring the use of new robotic and sensor technology to inform the need to balance the effects of drainage on productivity, profitability and environmental quality.

The workshop will be hosted by Jacqueline Comito, Iowa Learning Farms director; Mike Castellano, the William T. Frankenberger professor of soil science at Iowa State; Hongli Feng, assistant professor, Department of Economics and Center for Agricultural and Rural Development; Liang Dong, director of the Microelectronics Research Center and the Vikram L. Dalal professor of electrical and computer engineering; Xiaobo Tan, Michigan State University Research Foundation professor; and Richard M. Hong, endowed chair of electrical engineering at Michigan State. Robotic sensor for smart ag drainage system.

The events are free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State Prairie Strips honey. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu

This workshop is supported by U.S. National Science Foundation award 2125484. Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are also supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.

Shareable photos: 1. Tile outlet flowing into stream. 2. Smart agricultural drainage system robotic and sensor development (photo courtesy of Michigan State University).

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