Agricultural Drainage Design Workshop set for March 10-11 in Grand Forks

Farm Forum

The annual Drainage Design Workshop will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

The workshop is a collaborative effort by the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University Extension Service and South Dakota State University Extension Service.

The two-day workshops starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. on day two. The workshop will focus on the planning and design of agricultural tile drainage systems to meet profitability and environmental objectives. The course content is taught in a hands-on manner and with a great deal of discussion time.

“With falling crop prices, producers cannot afford to lose crops due to excess water,” says Tom Scherer, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer and one of the main organizers of the event. “Tile drainage is one way to reduce crop risk, but designing an appropriate system for each field is essential.”

The workshop is intended for those interested in a more complete understanding of the planning and design principles and practices for drainage and water table management systems. That includes farmers, landowners, consultants, drainage contractors, government agency staff and water resource managers.

Topics include the legal aspects of drainage, basics of drainable soils, agronomic perspectives, doing your own tiling, land evaluation tools, wetlands and conservation drainage concepts and techniques.

The design topics begin with basic design considerations and progress through individual small-team projects with several hands-on, problem-solving examples covering basic design and layout principles, water flow calculations, drain spacing, sizing and grades. Design principles for lift stations and conservation drainage practices also are considered.

“To optimize crop production, we need to maximize the water management in the field, which includes water table management and possibly subirrigation,” says Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension Service agronomist and a presenter at the workshop.

The early registration fee is $225. The workshop is limited to 65 participants. Due to seating limitations, onsite registration will not be available on the day of the event.

Two similar workshops are scheduled in the region:

• Feb. 17-18 – SDSU Extension Regional Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.

• Feb. 24-25 – Holiday Inn and Suites, St. Cloud, Minn.

To register for any of the workshops, go to

For more information, contact Scherer at (701) 231-7239 or Kandel is available at (701) 231-8135 or