Discovery Farms- Rock County Monitoring Report

In 2014, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Discovery Farms began a multi-year monitoring study on two farms (four basins) within Rock County to determine how different cropping systems and management practices impact surface water quality.

A cost-effective approach for on-farm tile monitoring

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.

Communicate more effectively with farmers about adopting practices to protect water quality based on these new social science research strategies

Professionals working with farmers to increase the adoption of water quality practices will benefit from insights provided by new social science research. Placing management recommendations into a social, psychological and economic context can help professionals customize communication to farmers to address their barriers and motivations to adopting practices.

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