Keeping phosphorus out of waterways

Keeping phosphorus out of waterways

Phosphorus removal structures trap the nutrient before it reaches waterways.

Iowa Drainage School 2018

Iowa Drainage School 2018

Staying up to date with subsurface drainage.

Innovation revisited

Innovation revisited

I previously wrote an article about barriers to adoption of innovative drainage practices.

Digging into drones

Digging into drones

Contractors can still benefit from the technology without buying a drone for themselves.

Joining forces: gaining support for drainage

Joining forces: gaining support for drainage

Gaining community support for agricultural drainage improvement projects, one landowner at a time.

A team of researchers is planning to study farmers’ fields in northwestern Ohio that have more phosphorus than the crops can use.
Poultry producer Allen Harim will pay a $300,000 administrative penalty to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) for violations at its Harbeson processing plant and its Dagsboro hatchery.
The Queensland Government is investigating concerns raised by environmental groups that sediment run-off from more than 2,000 hectares of cane farming land in northeastern Australia is potentially polluting waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area recently distributed grants totaling $378,671 to nine projects that will improve water quality in the Schuylkill River. Local rivers and streams such as the Schuylkill River have an impact on the entire Delaware River Basin.
AGREM LLC and GeoLogic Computer Systems form a new distribution agreement between their companies. This agreement creates a water management software with the goal of developing a seamless transition from survey to design to installation and, finally to analysis.
DIGS Associates, a consulting firm specializing in watershed drainage water management, partners with Cimbria Consulting to accelerate the company’s market advancement.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership has granted $500,000 for The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) staff and local certified crop advisors to work closely with landowners and plant cover crops within a subwatershed of Medway Creek in southwestern Ontario.
The Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, MB approved a tile drainage application put forth by Precision Land Solutions on behalf of Sissons Farms. Any plans for subsurface or tile drainage requires a drainage license from the Manitoba Water Stewardship before it's allowed to be installed. The approval process included discussions, meetings and required signatures from property owners downstream before being given the green light. | READ MORE
The Lee Board of County Commissioners has approved a grant amendment agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to increase total grant funding to $2 million for the Nalle Grade Stormwater Project, which will help reduce nutrient runoff to Caloosahatchee River in Florida. 
Recounts of drainage-related research from the archives of Ohio State University are now available online. Anyone can read about the research conducted at the university to develop the American version of corrugated plastic drain tubing and to develop a laser-beam, or laserplane depth and grade-controlled drain plow for the drain tubing’s rapid and accurate installation.
An exceedingly wet and loss-making spring – which stopped virtually all of our contracts dead, and had everyone talking about record rainfall – turned into the warmest and driest summer anyone can remember which caused lots of chatter about drought.
Most landowners, agencies, and consultants are beginning to see the mutual benefits of implementing best management practices (BMPs) to manage water, enhance crop conditions, and improve water quality.
Installing a blind inlet filters water through layers of soil and rock before it enters the tile system, reducing the amount of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment that can affect water quality.
Continuing education is part of any career – including a drainage contractor’s. Agricultural drainage systems are complex. Contractors must pay attention to local laws, soil types, slope, environmental considerations and size, depth and spacing of tile.
I previously wrote an article about barriers to adoption of innovative drainage practices. Those barriers included risk aversion, practices of adjacent landowners, economics and local conditions.
Drones need no introduction. Stories about drones hover on technology websites and never seem to go out of style. But what value does this former “next big thing” bring to the drainage industry?
Roger and Louise Van Ersvelde are passionate about conservation and land stewardship on their farm east of Brooklyn in Poweshiek County, IA.
No official background in drainage or excavating stopped the now 37-year-old Bourke Sprague from building his company, Sprague Excavating LLC, based in Union County, KY.
Don Hodgman was lead foreman for a drainage contractor in West Concord when he set out on his own in 1982.
Mark Morreim, president of Morreim Drainage Inc., has always been involved with farming. He was driving tractors by the time he was 12, raised livestock, and eventually started working for a family-owned company that farmed, sold seed corn and had a commercial fertilizer and custom chemical service.
In this time of increasing scrutiny of tile outflow and nutrient loss, there remains a lack of data to make determinations about best management practices in terms of fertilization rates and timing, as well as factors such as natural mineralization rates.
When long-time friends Sid Boeve and Tyler Russell started Bo-Russ Contracting in Manitoba in 2007, it was just a matter of time before installing tile drainage became one of their services.
Digging ditches is in Bart Maxwell’s blood, going back four generations to 1910 when his great-grandfather, Alexander Maxwell, began laying clay field tile and building small bridges around Montgomery County in Indiana with his brother, Silas.
Under overcast September skies, David Wideman of Wideman’s Farm Drainage marked the end of an era, laying what he believes to be the last clay drainage tile to be installed in Canada.
Iowa is one of seven states to receive funding for conservation efforts in new priority watersheds. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently selected eight Iowa watersheds for priority funding through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). NRCS is accepting MRBI project applications through March 15.
The Bay Journal has released a four part series looking into the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program and its progress to meet its 2025 clean up goals that will improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff.
While phosphorus is a necessary nutrient in agriculture, it is a water quality pollutant that must be prevented from excessively entering waterways. One way to do this is by minimizing erosion.
ALICO member asked me for a definition of the term “sufficient outlet.” This lead to   a series of questions:
Hurricane Michael failed to break up a patchy and toxic algae bloom that has lingered in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s shoreline for the last year, experts said Monday, meaning the red tide outbreak could continue to cause problems in the weeks ahead.
Scientists started to develop edge-of-field practices so that growers could keep the early planting offered by the tile drains while protecting nearby streams-and the Gulf of Mexico-from nitrate contamination.
A new regulatory approach in Minnesota, requiring farmers to install buffer strips to reduce nutrient runoff, is showing that mandating water protection methods can make a significant difference. 
Since Lake Erie's algae problems hit a record bloom in 2011, little of substance has been done to combat algae and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to push back on stiff regulation that could have a positive impact. 
Researchers from Ohio State University find that harmful algae is a threat in small ponds and lakes not just large bodies of water like Lake Erie. Large levels of toxins in small bodies of water are concerning, especially when the water is used for recreation, fishing and irrigation.
Iowa State University researchers found that saturated buffers are efficient at removing nitrogen, making it an effective and cost-efficient conservation practice that leads to cleaner water. 
Mole drains could be used in combination with surface drainage to improve soil water conditions on farms with flat, clay soils and potential sites for good subsurface drain outlets.
Andrew Wright, contracts manager for Miles Drainage based near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England, shares why, when and how to mole drain, a method that boosts the efficiency of soil drainage systems. 
Soil-conservation district offices statewide are open for the annual sign-up period for Maryland Department of Agriculture's cover crop program from June 21 to July 17. 
I am excited to assume the position of National Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) President for 2018. This is the same position my father John held in 1999. Much is the same, but a great deal has changed since then. LICA is growing rapidly, largely through the benefits secured by Jerry Biuso, our CEO, and our close ties to government agencies through John Peterson, our director of government relations. Here’s a look at a few of the projects happening at the moment. Memorandum of Understanding with NRCSMany years ago, we had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It has since expired and the executive committee would like to create a new MOU representing LICA and NRCS today. We have established a steering committee to work on a rewrite. The relationship between our two organizations has been very productive since we have similar goals.The History of Farm DrainageLICA has embarked on a comprehensive project to publish “The History of Farm Drainage.” America feeds the world and the development of farm drainage systems has been vital to that effort. LICA believes it is important to have a recorded history of the drainage industry in which many of our members work.Bob Clark, president of Clark Farm Drainage, Inc. and past-president of LICA, is serving as the project chairman, with a goal of collecting relevant information from every aspect of the industry, reviewing and co-ordinating that data, and publishing the results in a leather-bound book which will be available through LICA.We are reaching out to anyone involved in the drainage industry – researchers, producers, contractors, manufacturers, educators – and asking them to provide any history they may have relating to the drainage industry in America, as well as where they see the industry heading tomorrow.All editorial submission should include the follow four items: Date: The publication will follow a time line. What: Describe the action, product or service. Impact: Describe the positive impact it had on the industry. Source: Identify the source. Please submit all editorial to the designated email:
Timmins, ON farmers are now growing more produce than ever before because of a new funding program that makes their land easier to farm.
If someone told you there was a tried-and-true product available that would consistently increase your crop yields by 29 to 36 per cent, you would probably pay attention. These are the estimated yield benefits for systematic tile drainage in Ontario.
Is it worth spending $1,000 per acre on tile drainage to get a $40 boost in crop production?
Ontario is the only Canadian province that has a licensing program for drainage contractors. By far the most agricultural tile is installed in Ontario, and the program ensures Ontario contractors are highly skilled.
Most growers on farmland northeast of Winnipeg, Man., expect to lose about 20 percent of their acres in a typical wet year, which can happen six years in a row.
I speak for everyone at the Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) when I wish the industry a happy and successful end to their spring work season. As a drainage contractor myself for nearly 30 years, I know all too well that spring can be a challenging time for anyone in the construction field.
Here in southern Ontario, where Drainage Contractor is based, crop harvest will be complete by the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, and area producers – and drainage contractors – will be reminiscing about what was one of the driest summers on record.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections can be stressful for contractors and are usually conducted without advance notice.
Britain’s looming exit from the European Union may create opportunities to elevate drainage’s profile in the country’s agricultural policies.
Sept. 12, 2016 - For the first time ever, leading food and agriculture supply chain companies and conservation organizations have formed an “end-to-end” partnership to support farmers in the improvement of soil health and water quality. The collective, announced recently at the launch of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (the Collaborative) — a broad-based effort to support, enhance, and accelerate the use of environmentally preferable agricultural practices already underway in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. As part of this effort, the Collaborative has committed to raising $4 million over five years to help accelerate the Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led initiative of the National Corn Growers Association. With 65 farm sites already a part of the effort, the Soil Health Partnership’s goal is to enroll 100 farms for field-scale testing and measuring management practices that improve soil health. Such practices include growing cover crops, implementing conservation tillage like no-till or strip-till, and using adaptive, innovative, and science-based nutrient management techniques. The Soil Health Partnership’s research is quantifying the economic benefits of these practices, equipping farmers and agronomists with information on how healthy soil benefits both their bottom line and our natural resources. The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative’s founding members include Cargill, Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart, and World Wildlife Fund. “As an agricultural and food company, Cargill sees the MRCC as a way to support and accelerate the adoption of existing conservation programs set up by farmers and work with customers and organizations that share sustainability goals with the ag community,” says David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill. “This collaboration between environmental organizations and some of the world’s largest agriculture-based companies should lead to significantly ramped-up water conservation in the Midwest,” says Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “TNC is eager to use our science and expertise to accelerate solutions that match the scale of the challenges we face in that region, such as improving water quality across the Midwest and addressing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.” The Collaborative plans to initially focus on optimizing soil health practices outcomes, reducing nutrient losses — chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus — into the rivers and streams of the Mississippi River Basin, maximizing water conservation to reduce pressure on the Ogallala Aquifer, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative is committed to working with others — farmer organizations, environmental groups, and state and local watershed partnerships — to achieve the goals outlined in the Gulf Hypoxia Taskforce action plan and respective state nutrient and water loss reduction plans. Those common goals include: By 2025, 75 percent of row crop acres in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska are engaged in the sustainability measures that will result in optimizing field to market Fieldprint analyses and soil health practices outcomes. By 2025, reduce nitrogen loading from Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska by 20 percent as a milestone to meet agreed upon Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force goal of 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus loading. By 2025, 50 percent of all irrigation units used in Nebraska will maximize water conservation to reduce pressure on the Ogallala Aquifer. By 2035, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska have met the 45 percent nutrient loss reduction goal, and partnerships and goals are established to expand the Collaborative across the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The Collaborative will employ four strategies to improve positive environmental and social outcomes in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. These strategies are: Building the business case: build data and engage farmers via the Soil Health Partnership; Sustainable Agriculture Resource Center: provide training and technical support for ag retailers and crop advisors to help scale conservation practices such as fertilizer optimization and cover crop adoption; Policy engagement: plan for and understand drivers and incentives for in-field, edge-of-field, and landscape conservation practices; and, Communications: catalyze change in the region and help consumers understand these efforts by highlighting the innovation of farmers making measurable progress. The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative has partnered with the Keystone Policy Center to facilitate its work.
Prinsco’s original Goldflex flexible dual-wall pipe was in development for over five years with millions of contractor-installed feet before coming to the market in 2017. Goldflex G2 is the second generation, re-engineered based on years of customer feedback and testing.
AgRePlan, LLC and GeoLogic Computer Systems, Inc. (GeoLogic) are announcing the release of an improved version of the GeoSite Manager System (GeoSite) and a distribution agreement between AgRePlan and GeoLogic.
Hickenbottom is expanding its inlet accessory line. After offering the Hickenbottom Silt Sock as a way to enhance erosion control, it has now created a quick and easy way to modify the flow rate of new or existing Hickenbottom inlet systems.
Fratco adds ProCorr to its catalog of drainage pipe. A pipe produced with high-quality polypropylene to ensure long-term use, ProCorr has been engineered to perform optimally under harsh conditions.
Trucks have never been more important to a manufacturer’s bottom line; not only because they are selling in ever-increasing numbers, but also because there just doesn’t appear to be a price ceiling.
American Augers/Trencor, a Charles Machine Works company, has released a large-scale upgrade to its 1400-series trencher line. The T14-54/617 trencher features a Tier 4 Final emissions compliant engine, electronics and customer-requested features.
Eagle Trenchers has released the Eagle 9700, featuring a Cat Tier 4 diesel engine (275 horsepower), all hydraulic drives with intellimatics, optional Trimble GPS automatic steering and grade control, nine-foot digging depth by a 26- or 30-inch width cut. Other features include a pipe feed crumb shoe with optional gravel hopper and a pipe fairled system. Approximate weight is 67,000 pounds. Built in California since 1988, Eagles offers 10 models for pipeline, utility, irrigation, drainage, foundation and canal construction. 
Sentera LLC, a Minneapolis-based supplier of remote sensing and drone technology to the agriculture industry, has added elevation maps to its FieldAgent software platform.
Farmers looking for a method to help reduce nitrate flow from specific fields may want to consider constructing a woodchip bioreactor. The woodchip bioreactors acts as a filter to clean the water as it flows from the tile into the surface water body. The cost is often what is on a producer's mind.
A new drainage system on the edge of Mapleton is described by one expert as the poster child for how new systems should and will have to be designed and built.
In the drainage business, the term "best performance" no longer means moving the greatest volume of dirt. Just the opposite, in fact. In today's world, "best performance" means moving the least amount of dirt to move the greatest volume of water. Moving dirt costs money. The object is to obtain drainage goals without moving extra soil.
When Henry County farmer Todd Verheecke decided to start using cover crops five years ago, his motivation was both economic and environmental.

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Ohio LICA Convention
January 3-4, 2019
New York LICA Convention
January 6-8, 2019
Illinois LICA Convention
January 9-12, 2019
Iowa LICA Convention
January 13-15, 2019
Nebraska LICA Convention
January 15-18, 2019

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.