Tile drainage impacts yield and nitrogenDraining waterlogged farm fields helps crops but can leach nitrogen into waterways. A three-decade-long ...

Tile drainage impacts yield and nitrogenDraining waterlogged farm fields helps crops but can leach nitrogen into waterways. A three-decade-long ...Tile drainage impacts yield and nitrogen




Draining waterlogged farm fields helps crops but can leach nitrogen into waterways. A three-decade-long experiment is helping farmers strike the right balance.

June 30, 2021 – As most kids know, a big pile of mud can be a load of fun.

But not for farmers. Muddy fields mean too much water. And too much water means crops might not grow well.

Farmers often install underground drains, called tile drains, in waterlogged soils to help move the excess water away quickly. The drier soils are beneficial to their crops.

But there is one potential downside: nitrogen. In the form of nitrate, nitrogen contaminates waterways. Plus, any nitrogen that leaves the field means wasted money for the farmer, who paid for fertilizer.

How can farmers balance draining their fields with holding onto nitrogen? For starters, they can turn to a decades-long experiment out of Purdue University. Results were published in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

For 31 years, researchers have studied how different farming practices and drainage strategies affect crop growth and nitrogen loss from fields.
SOURCE: https://www.miragenews.com/tile-drainage-impacts-yield-and-nitrogen-587710/