On February 11th and 12th the annual NDSU Extension Subsurface Drainage Design & Water Management Workshop was held in Wahpeton, ND. Attending and presenting at this workshop were personnel from NDSU including Dr. Xinhua Jia, Dr. Tom Scherer, Dr. Hans Kandel, and John Nowatzki, along with the collaborating farmer for the SARE project (Gerry Zimmerman).
This workshop help bring light to the recent increase in subsurface drainage (tile drainage) installation along with stressing the potential gain from designing a subsurface drainage system that can be retrofitted for subirrigation. By doing this a landowner can not only better manage their crop during wet periods (typical in the Red River Valley), but also better manage their crop during dry periods (i.e. 2012 growing season in the Red River Valley). One of the key things about subirrigating, however, is the importance of keeping up with crop water demands because once a person falls behind (i.e. soil moisture deficit becomes too large) it is very hard to deliver enough water that will keep up with crop water needs and replenish the soil water content. As Gerry Zimmerman noted in an article published by the Grand Forks Herald, “We need to start pumping water into it earlier and storing it, and trying to keep that water table up instead of trying to play catch-up with it…”.
The following is the link to an article published by the Grand Forks Herald and written by Mikkel Pates on February 18th, 2014.