Irrigation and Drainage
395352 - Water Quality and Soil Moisture Dynamics in Two Managed Agricultural Drainage Systems
Wednesday, June 6
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Skyway Room
Stefan Bischof, Detroit Lakes, MN – Minneosta Department of Agriculture; Ryan Lemickson, Glenwood, MN – Minneosta Department of Agriculture
The objective of this case study is to describe and discuss water quality and soil moisture dynamics in two managed agricultural subsurface (tile) drainage systems. Subsurface drains installed in agricultural land with poor natural drainage allows timelier field operation access and normally contributes to improved crop yields. Concerns over water quality and hydrologic impacts caused by subsurface drainage have led to an opportunity to improve some aspects of the application. Such opportunities include controlled drainage where water periodically is held back within the soil profile by adjusting the outlet elevation and saturated buffers where the drainage water is routed into a buffer along a waterway. Both practices is typically managed to reduce the loss of crop nutrients and delay water entry into surface water conveyances. To quantify the water quality impacts of the practices, determine producer-collaborator effort and feedback for the system management, and demonstrate the potential for storing water on the landscape for subsequent beneficial use, a consortium of industry partners, agricultural interest organizations, federal and state agencies and local units of government cooperated to install two field-scale controlled drainage systems and a saturated buffer. The practices are monitored to quantify flow and water quality impacts, and a network of subsurface piezometers are used to track soil moisture dynamics within the root zone. Water samples are collected using automated water samplers and analyzed for nitrogen and phosphorus concentration. In this presentation we will discuss water quality and soil moisture dynamics results from the system.