Edge-of-field (EOF) monitoring projects are designed to collect accurate measurements of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus movement over the soil surface and through subsurface drainage tiles. This work leads to a better understanding of the relationship between agricultural management and water quality.
Edge-of-Field monitoring began in Minnesota in 1997 with three sites as a part of the Red Top Tile Drainage Demonstration. Since then, EOF monitoring has been conducted as a part of ten unique projects.
- Dodge County Bioreactor Demonstration
- Discovery Farms Minnesota
- Nicollet County Drainage Demonstration
- Red River Valley Drainage Water Management
- Root River Field to Stream Partnership
- Clay County Drainage Demonstration
- Conservation Innovation Grant Monitoring EOF Monitoring Equipment Assessment
- Highway 90 Tile Demonstration
View the Evaluating Best Management Practice Effectiveness: Highway 90 Drainage Project presentation in the Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
- Red Top Tile Demonstration
- St. Clair Vegetative Filter Strip Demonstration
The MDA, along with cooperators and partners, is responsible for installing and maintaining equipment to collect water quality, flow, meteorological and other project specific data.
- Various projects have been created and completed since 1997. These projects are answering a variety of questions related to water quality and farming practices in both surface and subsurface runoff.
- From 1997-2008, demonstration sites were established to gain further information on the role of artificial subsurface tile drainage and water quality.
- In 2009, surface (overland) water quality and quantity monitoring began.
- In 2022, there were seven surface water and 18 subsurface tile sites monitored across all MDA EOF programs.
- Monitoring sites have been located across the different types of agricultural areas in Minnesota encompassing a variety of farming operations.
The graph displays the average monthly sediment losses (lb/acre) and precipitation (inches) for all Discovery Farms Minnesota and Root River Field to Stream Partnership EOF surface water monitoring sites from 2010-2021. On average, 72% of the sediment loss occurs in May and June when the soils are vulnerable, crop canopies have not fully established, and there are often convective storms (resulting in the highest, on average, total monthly rainfall).
Data like these provide a useful tool to help inform the public and work with agricultural producers to reduce nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural lands in Minnesota.