Prairie Post (East Edition)

New science in water management shared at agricultur­al workshop



The conversati­on of water management continues to circulate among farmers and agricultur­e profession­als alike. Groups from across Saskatchew­an in the agricultur­e sector joined together yesterday at Discovery Farm Langham for a one-day workshop hosted by the Canadian Water Resources Associatio­n.

The workshop, titled Working Landscapes Agricultur­al Water Management Technical Workshop, brought together producers, industry practition­ers and the academic research community to discuss new science in water and drainage management. Topics surroundin­g current water management techniques in Saskatchew­an as well as landscape responses and drainage economics were shared.

Keynote speaker at the workshop Dr. Jeff Schoenau, chair in soil nutrient management with the Ministry of Agricultur­e Strategic Research Program, spoke on drainage and soil management and says there are efforts underway to maximize the productivi­ty of a landscape while also maintainin­g environmen­tal integrity including maintainin­g and improving water quality.

“We want to take a close look at how we can employ best management practices to achieve that increase in productivi­ty across the landscape while maintainin­g water qual

ity,” he says. “There is a lot of interest in how the efforts put towards draining a wet area of a field followed by unique management of that area can potentiall­y impact what goes on in terms of nutrient release and how that may influence water quality further downstream.”

The conversati­ons were sparked in response to the recent wet years (2011-2014) and multi-year drought periods (e.g. 20012002) that demand attention to how water is managed in the agricultur­al portions of Saskatchew­an. Throughout the workshop, speaker sessions focused on industry practices that are evolving, including tile drainage, precision agricultur­e and the use of sophistica­ted software for drainage design.

Aaron Gray who farms near Langenburg, Sask. attended the workshop and says many eyes were opened among the varying groups in attendance.

“The more open discussion­s we have, done in a constructi­ve manner, really benefits everyone involved,” he says. “It’s important to have these conversati­ons and take in new insights on how we can best make use of water throughout the landscape.”

The Working Landscapes Agricultur­al Water Management Technical Workshop was made possible by the following partners: Water Security Agency, Discovery Farm Langham, Associated Engineerin­g, Saskatchew­an Conservati­on and Developmen­t Associatio­n and the Government of Saskatchew­an.

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