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Jun 04

Soil Health

Posted on June 4, 2018 at 9:45 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 6/4/2018



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

·         CD76 (McPherson Twp.)  We are holding a landowner meeting Tuesday, June 5.  Affected landowners on this system should have been notified of details for time and location of meeting.  This meeting is a continuation from our original meeting to give updated ideas and prices to possible improvements or repairs for this system.


Project Updates:


  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.) We started out with two crews making short work of the new tile installation on the west side of Blue Earth County Road 27.  As of last Friday, we are now down to one crew.  The main contractor has subcontracted all of the remaining work out and has removed all of their equipment from project site.  Depending on the weather, I would say the remaining contractor has probably about another month or less of work.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  This improvement project did officially start last Friday, June 1.  We had a tree contractor out there grinding up all of the trees in the ditch and buffer area.  The main contractor will be starting with open ditch cleaning this week and will hopefully start with building the new sediment pond early next week.  This improvement project is actually split into two separate parts, but the two main contractors will be working together to complete both parts of this improvement project.  Rough estimates, barring mother-nature, for completing this improvement project will be 3.5 – 4 months. 


Healthy Soil Awareness:

Soil health and cover crop awareness is quickly gaining strength in southern Minnesota.  Southwestern Minnesota has been pushing extra hard for soil health and erosion issues.  Local SWCD districts and watershed districts in the Renville area went the extra mile to purchase an actual rainfall simulator.

With the use of grants and combining local efforts from watersheds and SWCD’s, they were able to start promoting education about cover crops back in 2015 and have been going strong ever since.  The local Renville County groups have been finding creative ways to support cover crop cost sharing programs.  They have been making great efforts to have as many small group meetings as they can with different farmer groups and agricultural related groups to share their rainfall simulator.  The simulator just adds another visual aspect to the learning tool box.

There are many local research studies that have been done or are currently going on involving cover crops.  The results are very impressive with how the soil recovers and responds to the usage of cover crops.  From nitrogen and fertilizer retention, to increased water retention and overall better soil health, are just some of the many benefits being seen through these research projects.  Renville County is also doing a test on Iron Chlorosis.  Iron Chlorosis is when the Ph of the soil is either too high or too low and iron gets tied up in the soil profile, leaving plants lacking iron and looking very yellowish.  For most of Minnesota, a normal soil Ph would be mid 6’s.  I do know firsthand that around  the Hutchinson, Gaylord and Winthrop Minnesota areas, that soil Ph’s go much higher out of normal range.  For these areas where Ph issues are an annual battle for soybean growers, cover crop research is showing some potential benefits. 

The added benefits of cover crops and their popularity will continue to grow.  Government regulations on fertilizer and some herbicides will also continue to grow.  The push for cleaner water bodies and better drinking water is the main driving force behind many of these sweeping changes in agriculture today.  For more reading on this article and many more like it, click and follow the link.




Recent Drainage Inspections – week of May 28 – June 1:


·         JD15 (Lincoln Twp.) Rather large sink hole forming along a county tile line.  More than likely a broken old tile that is plugged.jd15 sink hole

·         CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Collapsed intake along county tile in state highway right-of-way.

·         JD07 WAT (Lincoln Twp.)  We have been trying to gain access to an old portion of county tile to do televising.  The large amounts of water and large rainfalls lately aren’t helping us to finish this task.

·         JD19 (Vernon Center Twp.)  We just barely had the last repair fixed up and yet another tile collapse shows up 30 feet away from the last one.  Old concrete tile system is starting to show its wear-n-tear. 

·         JD24 (Shelby Twp.)  Large sink hole over county tile in grass waterway.  Usually a good sign of a broken tile that’s sucking in a bunch of dirt from flowing water in tile.

·         JD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  Issues with ponding and standing water.  More than likely a plugged or obstructed county tile or county tile intake.

·         CD36 (Mapleton Twp.)  We had a contractor making needed repairs to two portions of the open ditch.  In the last couple years, the deterioration of the open ditch areas has worsened.  We are hopeful that a better solution can be presented to help with rising and ongoing costs for repairs.

·         CD42 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  I got called out to a repair involving a very large power pole and our 24-inch concrete county tile.  Amazing the power company didn’t actually do more damage when drilling their new pole in.  The new power pole had to be installed because the original pole started on fire internally somehow.

·         Blue Earth County Poor Farm (Rapidan Twp.) poor farm repairs
Finishing touches were put on some of the intakes and outlet structures for this repair project that isn’t part of a public drainage system but is owned by Blue Earth County.

·         CD96 (Danville Twp.)  Contractor was making a few repairs to a control weir and repair to ditch side bank erosion issues.

Please call with issues you observe on our public drainage system, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and only two of us in the drainage department.  We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we receive them.


We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist