The Agriculture Water Quality Program delivers educational content for farmers, crop advisors and conservation professionals on the relationships between ag production practices and water quality outcomes.
Because nitrate is negatively charged, it does not bind with negatively charged soil and readily moves with water. Typically nitrate losses are more prevalent in subsurface water like tile drainage, while high phosphorus and sediment losses are associated with surface waters. Although we do have highly accurate ways to measure tile drainage water quality, such as 24/7 automated flow samplers, this approach is typically not economically or logistically feasible for individuals looking to monitor tile drainage on their own farm.
Extension’s Ag Water program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is looking for high-quality on-farm data to help improve our understanding on how soil health practice impacts soil phosphorus stratification.
In this article, we will discuss the presence of nitrate in irrigation water and opportunities to budget nitrogen in irrigation, to make farms more efficient in using nitrogen and reduce over-fertilization which in turn will protect groundwater.
The use of tile drainage is becoming more popular in Wisconsin. Installing a tile drain system can be a great tool to dry soil out faster, improving the timeliness of field operations throughout the cropping season. However, how do tile systems influence water movement off of the field, and what are the water quality implications?