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Nutrients Discharging from Tile Drains in Eastern Wisconsin Eric Cooley Research Coordinator UW Discovery Farms
What Are Discovery Farms?The Discovery FarmsProgram will developon-farm and relatedresearch to determinethe economic andenvironmental effectsof Best ManagementPractices on a diversegroup of Wisconsinfarms;
Discovery Farms Tile ResearchA - Kewaunee County Two tile line sites (2004 – 2009)B - Manitowoc County Two tile line sites (2004 – 2007, 2007 – 2011)C - Waukesha County Two tile line sites (2004 – 2009)
Surface and Tile Runoff Under Snowmelt Conditions Surface Water and Tile Runoff Snowmelt 2005 3.5 70 Surface-Water Flow Air Temperature, DegreesDischarge, cubic feet per 3.0 Tile Flow 60 2.5 Air Temperature 50 second 2.0 40 F 1.5 30 1.0 20 0.5 10 0.0 0 3/25/05 3/26/05 3/27/05 3/28/05 3/29/05 3/30/05 3/31/05 4/1/05 Tile flow began before surface flow Relative volumes of water flowing in surface and tile were similar for this snowmelt period
Take home points Tile drains can flow up to 365 days a year, even during frozen ground conditions Tile drainage can deliver the majority of water and total nitrogen leaving agricultural fields and can also deliver significant sediment and phosphorus Good manure and fertilizer management is critical to reduce the loss of nutrients in tile drained landscapes