Limited information exists about tile drainage water quality and the impacts it has on the larger watershed. Two separate field scale water quality demonstration sites are currently in operation in southern-Minnesota to evaluate and demonstrate best management practices (BMP’s) and impacts to water quality both at the field scale and the larger watershed.
Minnesota farmers play an important role in finding solutions to water quality concerns and need to be assured that nutrient and pesticide Best Management Practices (BMP’s) are profitable and work on their farms under similar conditions. Information that currently exists about tile drainage water quality is collected from small plot scale systems (less then 1 acre). Producers are often skeptical of plot scale demonstrations when evaluating management changes for their fields. Results from these field scale demonstration sites provide a platform to educate farmers, agricultural professionals, and the non-agricultural community.
Automated monitoring equipment monitors drainage flow volume, temperature, and rainfall. Automated samplers obtain composite samples that are analyzed through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture laboratory for pesticides, nitrate nitrogen, and phosphorous concentrations. Graduate studies at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota assist with monitoring activities, evaluation, and education outreach activities
An advisory committee comprised of commodity group representatives, ag-retailers, crop consultants, university researchers, agency personnel, and farmers meet quarterly to provide input and review of the proposed management practices and associated education outreach activities. “We wish to extend a big thank-you to all of our cooperators with this project”
Fertilizer Field Unit
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division