Irrigation and drainage education February 18, as part of MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference.

Six irrigation and drainage sessions will occur on February 18 as part of the MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference.

Image showing irrigation in a field.

Irrigation and drainage education February 18, as part of MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference.

Irrigation and drainage may seem an odd combination but managing too much and too little water are all part of reducing the risk of crop production and optimizing crop production options on the sandy loam soil of Southwest Michigan. As crop input costs rise and commodity markets improve, the desire to reduce production risk encourages producers to explore improved drainage along with increasing acres, capacity, and manageability of irrigation.

To learn more about these topics, participate in the MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference on February 18. While there is no cost to participate, attendees must pre-register. The conference offers a variety of Ag programs throughout the week of Feb. 15-19, 2021. This unique event combines past MSU Extension events such as Ag Action Day, Branch County Farmers Day, and Southwest Michigan Horticulture Days into one cumulative week-long program. Attendees can attend as many sessions as they would like and are able to jump around between tracks. RUP and CCA credits are offered for many of the sessions during the Irrigation and Drainage day. Learn more and register on-line at

The six presentations that make up the Irrigation and Drainage day are:

  • 9‐9:45 am.- Draining Wet Spots in the Field or Draining the Entire Field, Ehsan Ghane ‐ MSU/BAE Agricultural Drainage Specialist
    • Join this presentation to learn more about how to decide if you want to drain part of the field or the entire field. See a demonstration of the “Drain Spacing Tool”, which estimates the optimum drain spacing.
  • 10-10:45 am - Improving Irrigation Management Using a Low-Cost Remote Sensor Monitoring System - Younsuk Dong - MSU/BAE, Irrigation Specialist
    • Good quality sensors are becoming more affordable, coupled with newly developed cloud information, systems producers can have soil moisture, leaf wetness and other crop information data from their field to their smart phone within minutes.
  • 11‐11:45 am.- Combat Nutrient Loss with Controlled Drainage, Ehsan Ghane, MSU/BAE Agricultural Drainage Specialist
    • Join this presentation to learn more about controlled drainage and how it reduces nutrient loss. See examples of control structures that can be used for controlled drainage. Learn about potential crop yield benefit. See examples of economic payback period for controlled drainage.
  • 12‐12:45 pm.- Home Irrigation - Ron Goldy, MSU Extension Vegetable Specialist
    • Home irrigation efforts should no longer consist of oscillating and circular overhead sprinklers at the end of a garden hose. Modern, drip irrigation techniques are a much more convenient and efficient use of time and water resources. This session will introduce you to the basics of design, equipment, installation, and use of landscape and garden drip irrigation.
  • 1‐1:45 pm.- Irrigation Management to improve yield and water use efficiency while minimizing foliar Disease - Younsuk Dong, MSU/BAE Irrigation Specialist and Lyndon Kelley, MSU/Purdue Extension Educator
    • As irrigators, your choice of when to start irrigating, how much to apply, and when to start the next application result in how much irrigation water it takes to achieve the yield and the number of times the crop was wetted. We will explore some of the tools and techniques available to help irrigators maximize yield while minimizing water use and disease potential.
  • 2‐2:45 pm.- Midwest Water Stewards, Groundwater Monitoring Funded by Agriculture - Todd Feenstra, President of Tritium, Inc. Director of Midwest Water Stewards, Elkhart, Indiana
    • Midwest Water Stewards is a 2019 merger of several groundwater and stream flow monitoring efforts funded by Agriculture. The group has studies of potential irrigation impact to streams and wells in more 12 counties in Indiana and Michigan, with 130+ monitoring wells, 300+ stream tests, and 55 million data points.

Please contact Lyndon Kelley, MSU Extension Educator, at or 269-535-0343 for more information.

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