Equipment: With regard to monitoring WI runoff In order to compute losses (yields for ag) we need to get the water right! Most important thing to do is get the volume!!! For high accuracy data. Water volume and it’s importance
These are all ancillary variables that can come into play when trying to make links between the landscape and what we measure in the water.
This is the “when” the runoff happens and leads into the why
Nutrient Management in Wisconsin: Education, On-Farm Research, Training 2
Co-Director UW–Discovery Farms
Activities & Findings
Discovery farms are real-life Wisconsin
farms in different geographic areas facing
different environmental challenges.
Our goal is to better understand and reduce
the sources of phosphorus, nitrogen, and
other pollutants that may impair the surface
Farms participate for 5-7 years
The Discovery Farms Program
will develop on-farm and related
research to determine the
economic and environmental
effects of Best Management
Practices on a diverse group of
The Discovery Farms Program will develop on-farm and
related research to determine the economic and
environmental effects of Best Management Practices on
a diverse group of Wisconsin farms;
and educate and improve
communications among the
consumers, researchers, and
policy-makers to better identify
and implement effective
practices that are compatible
with profitable agriculture.
About UW-Discovery Farms
6 Core Farms
3 Special Project Farms
21 Monitoring Stations
Education and Outreach
What else are we collecting?
precipitation, wind speed
and direction, air
humidity, soil moisture
What have we learned?
Identified critical risk periods
Snowmelt, rain on snow/frozen ground
Non-frozen soils that are close to saturation.
All farms/farming systems have losses.
Tile drainage a major contributor in areas
Sediment losses are lower than expected.
Timing – Critical Runoff Periods
as a Percentage of
as a Percentage of Total
October 0.07 3% 23% 2.32 3%
November 0.02 <1% 15% 2.22 1%
December 0.04 1% 35% 1.73 2%
January 0.10 4% 50% 1.68 6%
February 0.41 16% 58% 1.48 28%
March 0.87 34% 100% 2.22 39%
April 0.11 4% 54% 3.42 3%
May 0.32 12% 38% 3.70 9%
June 0.48 19% 42% 3.83 13%
July 0.07 3% 42% 3.90 2%
August 0.07 3% 19% 3.55 2%
September <0.01 <1% 19% 2.76 <1%
Average annual yields of total phosphorus,
by farm and year, 2003–2008.
Distribution of event-mean total P concentration 2003 - 2008
So now what?
Discovery Farms is wrapping up a
number of sites.
Organizing and writing up the
results from the first nine projects
Move toward linking field and
In-stream and in-field water quality monitoring
Providing information that helps farmers and their
advisors to make changes that protect water quality
Identify critical sites (contributors or major sinks)
Engage producers and their advisors in the identification
and adoption of practices which reduce losses
Evaluate fields to identify critical sites
Relate edge-of-field losses to P – Index
Identify fields based on level of risk (timing
Compare critical sites with other
methods of identification (LIDAR)
Look for alternative practices on