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.