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Ohio State University Extension


Drainage installation and conservation practice field demonstrations at the 2021 Farm Science Review

Have you ever wondered how subsurface tile drainage is installed in farm fields? The Farm Science Review (FSR), held from September 21–23, brings you an opportunity to view live demonstrations of the drainage tile installation process.

The science and practice of drainage installation has evolved significantly over time, from the early years where most drainage work involved the placement of clay or concrete tiles in hand-dug or machine-dug trenches to recent years where more modern approaches have involved the installation of corrugated plastic tubing with drainage plows. In the past two decades, drainage technology has been revolutionized by the availability of computer software for drainage design, machine control, and high-precision differential GPS (or RTK GPS) technology for surveying and installation of drain tile.

As you plan your visit to FSR, don’t forget to stop by the OLICA Field Drainage Installation demonstrations. The demonstrations will highlight the latest innovations in ditching machines, drainage design, installation, GPS grade control technology, and drainage water management. Live demonstrations will be available on all three days of FSR; however, you may want to plan to visit on day 1 or 2, when installation work will be at its peak.

[OLICA stands for the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association, which is a trade association representing small, family-owned contractors from across the state who are actively involved in the professional conservation of soil and water. OLICA is the Ohio affiliate of the Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA).]

Over the past several decades, OLICA has generously partnered with OSU Extension through FSR and the Overholt Drainage Education Program. This year, OLICA will be installing approximately 42,000 feet of 4” tile in the FSR demonstration fields. Plans are also in place to demonstrate some drainage-related conservation practices, such as the installation of controlled drainage structures for drainage water management. As you can imagine, this is a large operation that involves the coordination of many people and machines. All this work is accomplished with the help of Volunteer Contractor Members and generous donations from Associate Members of OLICA. A core team ensures the coordination and safety of all of the field work. Feel free to observe and ask questions throughout the show as OLICA contractors install agricultural drainage and conservation practices. In addition to the field demonstrations, you can also check out the displays and exhibits by major suppliers for the drainage industry.  

To visit the demonstration site at FSR, you can catch the shuttle buses at the west end of Friday Ave. that run each day from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For general questions related to drainage or drainage water management, you can contact Vinayak Shedekar at

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Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.