Irrigation and Drainage

Oral

395137 - Application of conservation drainage practices to reduce nitrate transport from tile drains in South Dakota.

Wednesday, June 6
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Skyway Room
Co-Authors: Todd Trooien, 1400 N. Campus Dr., Box 2120, Brookings, SD 57007 – South Dakota State University

Artificial subsurface drainage is used in croplands with poorly drained yet productive soils. As a result, excess water, often containing elevated concentrations of nutrients, such as nitrates, are routed to surface waters and can cause hypoxia. To reduce nutrient loading from tile drainage water, conservation drainage practices like Drainage Water Management (DWM) and saturated buffers have been implemented at tile drainage outlets. DWM uses vertical boards in a control structure to manipulate the water table depth throughout the cropping season, keeping nutrients in the field. Saturated buffers use a control structure to divert flow to a perforated tile line buried beneath the surface and parallel to a waterway. The uptake of water and nitrogen by the plants is the main source of nitrate reduction in these systems. During the fall of 2015 and summer of 2016, two field-scale DWM and two field-scale saturated buffers sites were installed in eastern South Dakota. Water samples were collected weekly during times of drainage water flow and analyzed for nitrate concentrations. Preliminary results from June 2016 showed that DWM transported 24.4% less nitrate per acre as compared to conventional drainage. For saturated buffers, a series of well arrays were setup along the buffer and used for quantification of nitrate reduction by the buffer. The Flandreau site demonstrated nitrate reductions through the saturated buffer of 86.6% for the year 2016. Ongoing analysis for 2017 show an average reduction rate of 95.9% for the Baltic and 36.6% for the Flandreau buffer sites. Next steps include continued analysis of nitrate concentration and computation of subsequent nitrate loads and conservation practice efficiencies for the 2017 growing season. In addition to this, a SWAT model is being developed to simulate DWM and conventional drainage and compare nitrate loading for each of the scenarios.

Abhinav Sharma

South Dakota State University

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Rachel Mc.Daniel

Assistant Professor
South Dakota State University

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