Highly modified channels drain extensive portions of productive agricultural land in the United States.
In the North Central Region, drainage ditches were either dredged into existence or were natural streams straightened and deepened to facilitate subsurface drainage flow. Their design and maintenance have been a standard for more than 150 years. While there is considerable debate on this topic, we use the term agricultural drainage ditch to describe any channel with a primary purpose as an outlet for subsurface drainage to facilitate crop production.
Drainage ditches are critical components to a viable agricultural economy as well direct links to valuable downstream water resources. Understanding drainage ditch form and function is important to a systems approach to promoting water quality and agricultural production.
The Ohio State University's Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering has developed a website devoted solely to the science and engineering of agricultural drainage ditches.
USDA NIFA PROJECT
OSU’S WATERMAN FARM
REGIONAL TWO-STAGE DITCH PROJECTS