MSU Drainage Workshop breaks down installation practices

Researchers at Michigan State University are promoting tile drainage structure design as a way to reduce nutrient loss.

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering researcher Ehsan Ghane tells Brownfield controlled drainage systems are even more efficient at managing water movement than traditional field tiling.

“The reason they need conservation drainage in there is to at the same time as increasing the profitability of the crop yield benefits, they can actually protect the water quality as well and retain the valuable nutrients in the field,” he says.

He says studies have found structures can reduce phosphorus loss by up to 30 percent each year.

“When you compare those two spectrums of the soil, heavier and fine, it will be more effective in the heavier one compared to the fine textured sandy loam soil, but it’s still going to be effective in the sandy loam soil,” he says.

Ghane says interest in the practice continues to grow as farmers work to improve water quality and keep nutrients in farm fields.

Farmers and contractors will learn how to install systems and how they can be retrofitted to existing tile networks at MSU’s Drainage Workshop this week.

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