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FSR showcases latest field drainage technology items
By VICKI JOHNSON
Ohio Correspondent

LONDON, Ohio — Installation of the latest in field drainage technology will be showcased during the Farm Science Review Sept. 19-21.

The technology combines improved production practices with conservation water management.

Installing the new drainage control structures will be the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association, an affiliate of the Land Improvement Contractors of America. The organization’s goal is to protect land and water resources.

New drainage control structures will be put in place on 40 acres of the Molly Caren Agricultural Center. The installation will take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily west of the grain storage area adjacent to land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

Visitors will have an opportunity to see the installation process and how the system works. In addition, visitors can see the opportunities that exist to improve water quality while potentially making crop production more profitable.

“Our ultimate goal with the drainage structures is to be able to get a return on our investment. We can measure this through increased yield,” said Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager. “Through this system, we also want to be able to reduce soil erosion, as well as improve water quality.”

The structures provide the ability to maintain an artificial level of water, which can be controlled with stop logs. Through the installation or removal of the stop logs, a grower can adjust the water table throughout the growing season when crops need water. The stop logs also capture excess nitrogen in the soil, which is eventually released as nitrogen gas.

“Ideally a farmer wants to use every pound of nitrogen put on a crop, but we want to make sure that whatever is not used is not running off the field and polluting waterways,” Sullivan said. “This technology prevents that run-off.”

Sullivan said the Molly Caren Center serves as a model for drainage technology and its incorporation into the site’s comprehensive water management plan.

“And as one of the first sites in Ohio tying this kind of work to conservation management, we want to provide an avenue for people to gather the best information possible to assist in making decisions based on sound design and sound science,” he said.

“If a raindrop hits the Farm Science Review we want to know what happens to that raindrop. Does it go to the stream, or does it get utilized by the crop? And is it carrying nutrients with it? This field day is not just a time to put in drainage and say, ‘Hey, we’ve done something great.’ It’s a time for us to look for ways to improve the water that enters the Farm Science Review grounds.”

Other partners of the project include Ohio State University Extension, Ohio State Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, USDA-NRCS and Agricultural Research Service, Madison County Engineers, Madison Soil and Water Conservation District and Trimble Navigation.

Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the academic units of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences sponsor the Farm Science Review.

Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses.

Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19-20 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21. For more information, visit http://fsr.osu.edu

This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

9/13/2006