On-farm research is important in estimating the agronomic, ecological and environmental impact of water management practices.
Drainage research shows how systems can be developed to control the amount of runoff from farm fields to Minnesota’s lakes and streams.
Researchers test agronomic, ecological, and engineering approaches to managing agricultural runoff (surface and subsurface) and chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides). Water resources research and outreach helps to transfer new technologies and innovative management systems across Minnesota.
Research at centers has shown manure application improves soil structure and enhances water infiltration of soils, which reduces runoff. Scientists have conducted research to determine how to improve water quality in agricultural fields that use manure.
Strong partnerships with producers, public agencies, private industry, producer organizations and conservation groups help to develop strategies to reduce contaminants from agriculture reaching surface and ground water.
One drainage system being tested uses gates to allow more water to move off a site when not needed by crops and more water to be retained when conditions are dry.
With the help of Research and Outreach Center scientists, drainage from a family farm in southwest Minnesota has been studied since 2005. The research addresses the complex soil-water-atmosphere-plant system in both drained and undrained row-crop production, as well as undrained natural prairie on the property.