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Aug 13

The Ultimate Cover Crop?

Posted on August 13, 2018 at 6:23 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 8/13/2018


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  We will be officially awarding the bid approval for a major repair to a portion of the open ditch.  The work is set to start anytime after August 21 and to be finished by the end of September.  The need for a short timeline is because of the issue with the endangerment to the township road.

Project Updates:


  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  With the new tile all installed things have been pretty quiet.  The contractor should be coming back soon to finish the clean-up work that is left to do.  No certain date is set as of yet for this to happen.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  This two-part improvement project is going strong.  We should be seeing a new pond going in this week, along with sub lateral one.  We hope to see two contractors working together possibly later this week.  The southerly portion of this improvement could possibly be done in the next few weeks.  The northerly portion could be a bit trickier, especially to the far north end of the project, due to two different wetland areas to work around.  We have had very good weather for working lately, and hopefully it will stay this way for a while.  The area circled in blue will be done this week and yellow is the area completed. 
JD09 south improvement map 08132018

Cover Crop that’s Hardy, Profitable and Environment Friendly?

Winter Camelina is the multi-beneficial cover crop with cash benefits moving into Minnesota.  This amazing cover crop is currently being tested in trials in southern and western Minnesota, with surprisingly great yield results.  Winter Camelina is designed to be planted late summer through mid-October into standing crops.  It over-winters very well and can be harvested mid-June of the next season over the top of standing soybeans.  For those growers that have canning crops or sweet corn, this is also seen as a great second crop after the canning crop has been harvested.

Camelina brings multiple benefits that include: improved water quality, better over-all soil health, spring erosion prevention, and early spring flowers for pollinators like bees.  With very little fertilizer needed and low production costs for this cover crop, it will be something seriously looked at going forward. 

Camelina is high in oil content and also the oil collected is high in omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s naturally healthful.  The oil from the seeds has many possible uses ranging from fuels to foods.  Research is going into using the oil in biodiesel and a possible alternate to jet fuel. 

Many of us in Minnesota have never heard of such a product, nor have many processing companies.  If we can figure out the gap between production and market, it could take off very quickly.  More research is still being conducted to improve seed size, yield and oil content.  With its multitude of possible uses in many industries extending into food, fuel, animal meal, and cosmetics, it could very quickly become part of everyday agriculture.

 For more reading on this interesting crop, click the link below to be redirected.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of August 6 – August 10:

  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  I was called out to look into a large sink hole starting to form.  This is near the same area of a tile failure from last year.  We will try to televise this branch later this fall before making repairs.  Picture of sink hole shown below.JD48 Sec 27 Lantz
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  We are monitoring the deteriorating situation with all the slough issues along the open ditch portion of this system.
  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Well the beavers are back and making a mess of this open ditch again.  The major area of concern is the very southern portion of the open ditch where there are still many trees and food sources for our furry friends.  We still plan to clean many of the trees out of the ditch area later this year. 
  • JD28 (Decoria Twp.)  With some collective thinking and agreements between engineers and drainage staff, we were able to get things relocated and properly connected.  MNDOT is doing a major reconstruction of Trunk Highway 22 South, and part of our ditch system crosses this highway.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  I was inspecting some areas we had a contractor recently mow.  The mowing did a good job of suppressing some of the weed pressure, but more herbicide treatment will be needed to try to control the weeds.  We will also be starting a repair to a portion of the open ditch system near Lieberg Lake today.  We had some erosion issues from June storms that we are still working on fixing up.
  • CD57 (Beauford Twp.)  Old concrete tile collapsed near a junction of new tile.  New reducers and bands will be needed to properly patch up the smaller area near the Mapleton treatment ponds.


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