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The Role of Drainage Depth and Intensity on Hydrology and Nutrient Loss In the Cornbelt

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For more: http://www.extension.org/67691 Water management in the crop root-zone is crucial to successful crop growth and production. Irrigation, surface, and subsurface drainage—and other practices—are routinely implemented throughout the world to improve crop productivity and working conditions of the soil. Water management practices also impact the environmental footprint of agricultural systems by affecting the flow of water, nutrients, sediment, and other constituents through field, farms, and watersheds. Water management practices for agriculture in the Midwestern US should be designed with both profitability and the environment in mind. The design of subsurface (tile) drainage systems has traditionally been more a matter of how much drainage one can afford, rather than the aforementioned objectives. The relationship among subsurface drainage design characteristics (depth, spacing, layout), farm profitability, and environmental impact are not well known at the farm scale. Thus, drainage system design may fail to meet one or more of these important objectives. This presentation will examine the effects of subsurface drainage system design criteria on productivity, profitability, and the environment, using the soils and climatic conditions of the northern corn-belt (southern Minnesota). Water management in the crop root-zone is crucial to successful crop growth and production. Irrigation, surface, and subsurface drainage—and other practices—are routinely implemented throughout the world to improve crop productivity and working conditions of the soil. Water management practices also impact the environmental footprint of agricultural systems by affecting the flow of water, nutrients, sediment, and other constituents through field, farms, and watersheds. Water management practices for agriculture in the Midwestern US should be designed with both profitability and the environment in mind. The design of subsurface (tile) drainage systems has traditionally been more a matter of how much drainage one can afford, rather than the aforementioned objectives. The relationship among subsurface drainage design characteristics (depth, spacing, layout), farm profitability, and environmental impact are not well known at the farm scale. Thus, drainage system design may fail to meet one or more of these important objectives. This presentation will examine the effects of subsurface drainage system design criteria on productivity, profitability, and the environment, using the soils and climatic conditions of the northern corn-belt (southern Minnesota).

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The Role of Drainage Depth and Intensity on Hydrology and Nutrient Loss In the Cornbelt

  1. 1. Designing Subsurface Drainage Systemsto Meet Both Profitability &Environmental GoalsGary R. SandsProfessor & Extension Engineer
  2. 2. Drainage pipesor “tile”Flow to mainor ditch
  3. 3. Hypoxia & WQ Flooding & HydrologyHabitat Loss & Alteration
  4. 4. Golden Rule of DrainageDrain only what is necessary for good soil conditions andcrop growth – and not a drop moreProduction EnvironmentR. Wayne Skaggs
  5. 5. BenefitsCapital CostNet ReturnAnnual Nitrate Loss orDrainage Volume
  6. 6. Drainage Depth is Important
  7. 7. Drainage Design Support Tool• Illustrate effects ofdrainage designchoices• Facilitate compromisebetween profitability& environment
  8. 8. Simulation Approach• DRAINMOD 6.0• 100-yr Simulations• “Benchmark” soils• Multiple locations (S and NW Mn)• Use outputs for spreadsheet decisionsupport tool
  9. 9. Drainage Design Matrix(every soil x location)Drain Spacing (cm)DrainDepth(cm)4500 4050 3450 2850 2250906.3mm/day105120135 12.7mm/day
  10. 10. DRAINMOD Outputs148 133 113 94 7490 12.4 12.7 13.2 13.8 14.1105 12.9 13.2 13.6 14.1 14.6120 13.5 13.7 14.0 14.3 14.8135 13.9 14.0 14.4 14.7 15.1Drained Volume (cm)Drain Spacing (ft)Drainage Depth (cm)Drain Spacing (ft) Undrained 148 133 113 94 74Drainage Depth (cm)90 15.0 3.6 3.4 3.1 2.8 2.8105 15.0 3.0 2.9 2.6 2.4 2.1120 15.0 2.5 2.3 2.2 2.0 1.8135 15.0 2.0 1.9 1.7 1.6 1.5Runoff Volume (cm)Undrained 148 133 113 94 7490 42.6 83.2 86.1 89.7 93.1 95.9105 42.6 89.8 92.0 94.5 96.5 97.9120 42.6 93.4 94.9 96.6 97.9 98.8135 42.6 95.8 96.9 98.1 98.8 99.2Relative Crop yield (%)Drain Spacing (ft)Drainage Depth (cm)
  11. 11. Undrained 148 133 113 94 7490 42.6 83.2 86.1 89.7 93.1 95.9105 42.6 89.8 92.0 94.5 96.5 97.9120 42.6 93.4 94.9 96.6 97.9 98.8135 42.6 95.8 96.9 98.1 98.8 99.2Relative Crop yield (%)Drain Spacing (ft)Drainage Depth (cm)148 133 113 94 7490 12.4 12.7 13.2 13.8 14.1105 12.9 13.2 13.6 14.1 14.6120 13.5 13.7 14.0 14.3 14.8135 13.9 14.0 14.4 14.7 15.1Drained Volume (cm)Drain Spacing (ft)Drainage Depth (cm)Drain Spacing (ft) Undrained 148 133 113 94 74Drainage Depth (cm)90 15.0 3.6 3.4 3.1 2.8 2.8105 15.0 3.0 2.9 2.6 2.4 2.1120 15.0 2.5 2.3 2.2 2.0 1.8135 15.0 2.0 1.9 1.7 1.6 1.5Runoff Volume (cm)
  12. 12. Design Objectives• Maximize profitability (P)• Minimize environmental (E)response (e.g., drained vol, runoffvol, N-loss)• Look for opps to reduce E w/ocompromising P, or• Look for opps to increase P w/ocompromising E
  13. 13. Spreadsheet Design ToolLocation 3Soil 6Installation cost per acre ($) $650Acres Drained 160Yield Potential (well drained) (bu) 210Corn Price: ($/bu) $6.40User InputsAcknowledgementThis project was supported by agrant from the MinnesotaCornResearch & Promotion Council• User provides generalinputs• Profitability based onIRR• DRAINMOD outputembedded
  14. 14. Standardized Model Outputs(Profitability)
  15. 15. Standardized Model Outputs(Drainage Volume—or Nitrate)
  16. 16. Standardized Model Outputs(Surface Runoff)
  17. 17. Drainage Design Indices• Index 1 =P∗D∗ • Index 2 =P∗D∗× R∗
  18. 18. Index 1 =P∗D∗
  19. 19. Index 2=P∗D∗× R∗
  20. 20. HYDRO EFFECTSOther DRAINMOD Approaches
  21. 21. Mean Daily Runoff w/90% CL – No Drainage0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361MeanDailyUndrdainedRunoffVol(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  22. 22. Mean Daily Drainage at 0.5 in/day w/90% CL0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361MeanDailyDrainageVolume(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  23. 23. 0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361MeanDailyDrainedRunoffVol(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)Mean Daily Runoff Post-Drainage w/90% CL
  24. 24. Mean Daily Drainage & Post-drainage Runoff0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361WeeklyDrainage&RunoffVols(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  25. 25. Mean Daily Water Yield: Pre- and Post-Drainage0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361WeeklyDrainage&RunoffVols(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  26. 26. 0%20%40%60%80%100%0246810121 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361CumDailyWaterYield&Runoff(UD)(cm)Post-Drainage Water Yield (D + RO)Pre-Drainage Water Yield (RO)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  27. 27. Mean Daily Water Yield: Pre- and Post-Drainage0.000.050.100.150.200.250.300.350.401 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361WeeklyDrainage&RunoffVols(cm)Fargo Soil – Fergus Falls (99 yr)
  28. 28. Post-Drainage Water Yield (D + RO)Fargo Soil – Fergus Falls (99 yr)0%20%40%60%80%100%02468101214161 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301 331 361CumDailyWaterYield&Runoff(UD)(cm)Pre-Drainage Water Yield (RO)
  29. 29. OUTPUTS ON A WEEKLY BASIS
  30. 30. Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  31. 31. Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  32. 32. Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  33. 33. 0.00.20.40.60.81.01.21.41 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51WeeklyDrainage&RunoffVols(cm)Bearden Soil – Crookston (99 yr)
  34. 34. Fargo Soil – Fergus Falls (99 yr)0.00.20.40.60.81.01.21.41 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51WeeklyDrainage&RunoffVols(cm)
  35. 35. In Summary …• Investments in agricultural drainage willlikely continue.• Opportunities likely exist to balanceprofitability and environmental goalsthrough design.• Achieving these goals requires makingprudent choices among drainage rate,drainage spacing, and drainage depth.• More work is required to better predictcrop yield & ET responses fromsubsurface drainage.
  36. 36. Thank You!Gary R. Sandsgrsands@umn.eduwww.DrainageOutlet.umn.edu

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