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Overholt Drainage School sets dates for 2015


February 9, 2015
By Overholt Drainage School

Feb. 9, 2015, Defiance, OH – The Overholt Drainage School is now accepting registrations for its upcoming agricultural drainage courses.

The school is an intensive week-long program designed and taught to provide continuing education for land improvement contractors, soil and water conservation technicians, farmers, engineers, crop consultants, educators and others interested in advancing their knowledge of basic concepts, principles, and skills related to the purpose, design, layout, construction, and management of soil and water conservation systems.

The 2015 Overholt Drainage School will be held March 16 to 20 at the Defiance County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Building located at 22491 Mill Street (ST RT 15) in Defiance, Ohio.

The 2015 program includes three sessions:

Session 1: Agricultural Subsurface Drainage

This course runs March 16 to 18 and provides basic, practical information on the following topics: agricultural drainage concepts; soils; benefits and economics; and environmental impacts and considerations. In addition to these basics, this session provides extensive hands-on works sessions on design concepts and procedures, system layout, sizing laterals and mains, etc. One component of the program focuses on a real world design problem, where the participants work in small teams to provide a workable drainage design. The session concludes with an overview of installation basics, methods and research.  This course lays the foundation for the next two sessions. Some experience with agricultural drainage is strongly suggested.

Session 2: Drainage Water Management

This course runs March 18 and 19 and builds on the knowledge gained in Agricultural Subsurface Drainage. The practice of drainage water management (controlled drainage) is primarily focused on reducing water quality impacts of traditional subsurface drainage practices. This session is designed to provide participants with a package of innovative tools that have been proven to reduce nitrate-nitrogen discharges from agricultural drainage systems, and with application to reducing phosphate-phosphorus losses as well. In fact, research and demonstration from all across the Midwest has shown that the practice can reduce nitrate loads by up to 50 per cent, while providing small yield increases under some conditions. Ohio research shows an average annual increase in crop yields of three to six per cent. In this session students will: learn useful, practical information about new and retrofitted systems; complete hands-on exercises with layout of mains and laterals, and water table control structures; install systems; and learn about system operation and management. Several new or improved related practices will also be presented, including: drain spacing/depth alternatives; buffers with controlled drainage; wood-chip bioreactors and phosphorus filters; and drainage water harvesting.

Session 3: Concepts in Water Table Management

Water table management systems have three interconnected components: subsurface drainage, controlled drainage, and subirrigation. This session is a follow up to the full subirrigation design session offered in 2014. This year students will be presented with a useful, practical overview of concepts in water table management, system design objectives, benefits for water quality and crop yields, soil considerations, water management zones, differences in lateral spacings and mains compared to traditional subsurface drainage, water supply considerations, installation considerations, and how to operate and manage subirrigation systems. This course is scheduled for March 20. 

The Overholt Drainage School brochure and registration form can be downloaded from the Soil & Water Management section of the Agronomic Crops Team website. Space is limited so register early.  Registration includes tuition, lunches, refreshments, materials, supplies, manuals, guides, design notebooks and certificate of completion.  

Participants in all sessions should bring a calculator, as well as warm clothes and work boots in case of field trips.

For additional information about the Overholt Drainage School, contact Larry Brown at brown.59@osu.edu, or call 614-292-3826.

The Overholt Drainage School is sponsored by the Overholt Drainage Education and Research Program, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension, OARDC, The Ohio State University in cooperation with the USDA-NRCS, USDA-ARS, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio Land Improvement Contractors and Associates, and others.


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