While April showers might bring May flowers, they also contribute to toxic algae blooms, dead zones and declining water quality in U.S. lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters, a new study shows.In the Midwest, the problem is largely due to phosphorus, a key element in fertilizers that is carried off the land and into the water, where it grows algae as easily as it grows corn and soybeans.Previous research had found that waterways receive most of their annual phosphorus load in only a dozen or two events each year, reports Steve Carpenter, director emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Limnology and lead author of a new paper published online in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. | READ MORE
A 50-year-long analysis of hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey monitoring sites finds salts in freshwater rivers and streams are rising across much of the nation. But road salts and deicers, mostly made of the same stuff as table salt, are not the only culprits. Researchers discovered additional salt ions – potassium, magnesium, and calcium, among others – are also increasing in the country's freshwater rivers. Changes varied by region. For example, in midwestern agricultural areas, potassium levels rose fastest, likely from fertilizer runoff, whereas salt numbers swelled most rapidly in the densely populated and humid Northeast. Such changes were largely missing in the arid West. | READ MORE
The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a December 21st news release announcing it will add 30 new watersheds in 2018 as part of its National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).
It's been a busy year for managing water quality in our Great Lakes and surrounding waterways. This year saw above normal rain across many locations of the Great Lakes Basin resulting in above average water levels throughout the summer months in all the lakes.
Manitoba introduced legislation November 30 that could fundamentally change how water and wetlands are managed in the province.
Springfield Plastics launched its 4th Annual Drain for the Cure campaign in October and is excited to announce it has resulted in a donation of $73,136 for the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University in Springfield. The Drain for the Cure campaign started in 2014 in an effort to raise money for cancer research. Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has raised over $188,000. 2017's total of $73,136 far surpassed expectations!
Ontario municipalities and counties have been told, through the Endangered Species Act (ESA), that if endangered species are found in the drains and drainage ditches adjacent to farms, they will have to protect those at-risk species.
I can’t think of many things more underappreciated than soil. The earth below our feet is vital for life: the vast majority of our food depends upon it and without it humanity would end. Yet how many people make that association? For example, the vitality of oxygen and water is embedded in our minds as essential to life.
It was recently announced that nearly all producers in Minnesota will now have to install buffers along drainage ditches.
Nine years ago, one of the first bioreactors in Iowa was installed on Mike Bravard's farm near Jefferson, Iowa.
A study of drainage issues was recently completed in Delta, B.C., by researchers from the University of B.C. According to the reasech, during key periods, the drainage systems were not that effective.
The 17th annual Drainage Research Forum will provide results and updates on drainage research and farm projects on Nov. 15 at the Iowa State University Alumni Center.
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, Kentucky.
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.
It was an eventful summer for the folks at Bower Tiling Service Inc. Drainage Contractor first introduced readers to the company three years ago, when we profiled the then 112-year-old business in our Spring 2012 issue.
Water: the single most important substance in the world. Water: the most available substance in the world. On the surface of those statements it would seem that all is well; we all know there is a “but” lurking within them.
Traditionally windmills are used to extract water for livestock or irrigation. Not on the Coon Farm.
Take a trip back in time with Luft and Son Farm Drainage, laying field tile in Roosevelt Township, Iowa, circa 1973.
When Fostoria, Ohio, farmer Lanny Boes purchased his first ditch machine 40 years ago, he had no idea it would lead to him starting a drainage contracting company.
Management of excess water on agricultural lands, to reduce or prevent detrimental impacts, may be the most serious production problem facing agriculture in the cool, humid region of the United States.
This is the third paper published on the analysis of drain depth and grade data recorded during a field installation of corrugated plastic drain tubing. A 2050 GP model inter-drain double-link drainage plow was equipped with a Trimble RTK-GPS system to automatically control drain depth and grade and steer the drain plow along the drain line path for each subsurface drain planned for the field.
When nitrogen escapes from fields and buffer strips into watershed systems, it’s costly for everyone. New research suggests the installation of saturated buffer strips could offer a viable solution with economic merit for preventing these nitrogen losses.
Few things can make or break a cropping season like flood and drought. These two water-related events are at the core of many drainage and irrigation decisions.
Tile lines in the riverbed of Lake Agassiz may help keep salts in water tables from affecting cropland.
In a recent study, Laura Christianson, assistant professor of water quality in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, and several colleagues looked at whether they could remove phosphorus in woodchip bioreactors by adding a special "P-filter" designed to trap the fertilizer-derived pollutant. The team tested two types of industrial waste products in the P-filters: acid mine drainage treatment residual (MDR) and steel slag.
We see the impact of phosphorus and nitrogen losses to waterways every summer in bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Erie. Although other environmental elements and human inputs are factors, the runoff from farmers’ fields has always been viewed as the primary culprit.
A multidisciplinary team of scientists led by Antonio Mallarino, professor of agronomy at Iowa State University, has completed two years of a long-term field study to better understand the impacts of cover crops on nutrient loss with surface runoff.
At last fall’s International Drainage Symposium in Minneapolis, scientists with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) presented a study on soil fertility, water quality and its relationship with tile depth and spacing.
A year after a plan to tackle residual phosphorus loss from farmland into the Thames River was developed, the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (TRPRC) is being put into action in Ontario. This is thanks to a grant from the Agricultural Adaptation Council through federal-provincial-territorial Growing Forward 2 funding programs, with matching contributions from participating organizations.
Since 2011, the majority of corn producers in Illinois have followed the recommended maximum return to nitrogen (MRN) application guidelines. More than half of all farmers are either knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the “4R” strategy (right nutrient source at the right rate, in the right place and at the right time).
As more and more farmers, politicians and laypeople are coming to understand, nutrient run-off from farm fields into waterways is a very big deal.
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.
Agriculture is well known for multi-generational farm operations, with often two generations – and sometimes three – working together.
The year 2015 was the 50th anniversary for the beginning of the corrugated-wall high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic drainage pipe manufacturing industry in the United States. Working for the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Soil and Water Conservation Research Division at Ohio State University, my former colleague Norman R. Fausey and I conducted research to develop new subsurface drainage materials and methods of installation that could potentially be installed faster and at a lower cost than clay and concrete drain tile.
There continues to be a growing interest in tile drainage in Manitoba, and the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative (MLMMI) is working to help determine beneficial management practices for the application of manure on tile-drained lands.
The term “millennials” is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The precise delineation varies from one source to another, however, for purposes of this article we will place millennials as born between 1980 and 2000.
It was a busy and productive first year for the Transforming Drainage research study, according to project manager Ben Reinhart.
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.
Bluewater Pipe Inc.has recently announced their latest charitable campaign – and this one is a little different.
Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS) has developed the Agricultural Drainage App, a new mobile application for planning agricultural drainage systems, offering automatic calculations for both the proper quantity and type of pipe needed to achieve the drainage required. Free to download, it is now available from the App Store and on Google Play.
A look at some of the newest products this season
DEC.19, 2016—Trimble announced that it has launched a world-first, patent-pending VerticalPoint RTK system for grade control in agriculture. The VerticalPoint RTK system is designed to provide significantly enhanced vertical accuracy and stability of standard single-baseline RTK systems reducing the downtime and costly delays experienced by many agriculture land improvement contractors today. When vertical accuracy inconsistencies occur, agriculture contractors must wait to re-start leveling until the vertical signal is once again accurate, and in some instances even rework portions of the field that were incorrectly leveled before the vertical signal inconsistency was discovered. VerticalPoint RTK significantly reduces vertical design errors in leveling and land forming projects, which occur from inconsistent vertical GPS signals resulting from atmospheric interference. With VerticalPoint RTK, contractors can experience an approximate 25 per cent increase in overall uptime. Currently the industry experiences about 75 per cent uptime; however, with VerticalPoint RTK uptime can increase to approximately 95 per cent. This increase in uptime occurs even in the most challenging environments and at any time of year. “On average during the summer months we may see five to six hours a day where we don’t have the level of vertical GPS accuracy that we need to complete finish passes,” said Jarrett Lawfield, owner of Lawfield Land Grading, a custom land leveling business. “The vertical accuracy capabilities of VerticalPoint RTK allows the whole project—from bulk hauling to finish passes—to be more efficient. The more accurate bulk hauling is, the less work to be done while finishing.” To learn more about the VerticalPoint RTK system, visit: trimble.com/agriculture/verticalpoint-rtk
The Hydroluis drainage pipe system, manufactured in Istanbul, Turkey, is the first anti-root drainage pipe. It is anti-bacterial with sensitive filtration. The pipe saves underground water in drought seasons, and works only when the water table rises above specified levels. The system eliminates the requirement for annual maintenance or internal cleaning, according to a company press release. The pipe shows long-term operating performance and is usable in shallow impermeable grounds. For more information, visit www.hydroluis.com.
Bron has introduced the Double Link 850 (DL850) plow.
June 3, 2015 – Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS) has released a new online program for designing and estimating the cost of a storm water system constructed with its StormTech Chambers.
May 15, 2015 – The Bron TR450 wheel trencher is designed with the power and strength to easily dig in even the toughest rocky soil types.
Ensuring consistency with a licensing programOntario is the only Canadian province that has a licensing…
U.S. rivers are getting saltier – could ag runoff be to blame?A 50-year-long analysis of hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey monitoring…
Study ties phosphorus loading in lakes to extreme precipitation eventsWhile April showers might bring May flowers, they also contribute…
LICA Indiana State Convention
January 24-26, 2018
LICA Missouri State Convention
January 25-27, 2018
LICA Kansas State Convention
January 28-30, 2018
LICA Pennsylvania State Convention
March 16-18, 2018
The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage 2018 Conference
August 12-17, 2018