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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Water Table Management Approach to Enhance Crop Yields for Wetland Reservoir Subirrigation Systems

Authors
item Allred, Barry
item Brown, Larry - OSU
item Fausey, Norman
item Cooper, Richard
item Clevenger, William - OSU
item Prill, Gary - OSU
item Labarge, Gregory - OSU
item Thornton, Clifford - MAUMEE VALLEY RC&D
item Czartoski, Bernard - MAUMEE VALLEY RC&D

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2003
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: ALLRED, B.J., BROWN, L.C., FAUSEY, N.R., COOPER, R.L., CLEVENGER, W.B., PRILL, G.L., LABARGE, G.A., THORNTON, C., CZARTOSKI, B.J. A WATER TABLE MANAGEMENT APPROACH TO ENHANCE CROP YIELDS FOR WETLAND RESERVOIR SUBIRRIGATION SYSTEMS. APPLIED ENGINEERING IN AGRICULTURE. 2003. V. 19(4). P. 407-421.

Interpretive Summary: Recently, agricultural drainage water has been identified as a contributor to environmental pollution problems such as the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and sediment accumulation in Great Lakes harbors. Drainage is a necessary tool that farmers in the Midwest use to manage the excess water that otherwise causes planting delay and crop damage. A new approach to managing drainage water that reduces the delivery of nutrients and sediment to streams has been developed and is being tested in Ohio. This approach involves capturing, treating and reusing drainage water, thereby reducing offsite delivery of both water and pollutants and also increasing crop yields. An environmental-hydrologic-hydraulic monitoring program has now been implemented to provide information on water movement and storage within the system, which will be used along with corn/soybean crop yield measurements to further fine-tune system design and water table management guidelines.

Technical Abstract: A Wetland Reservoir Subirrigation System (WRSIS) allows for capture, treatment, storage, and reuse of runoff and subsurface drainage waters from cropland. WRSIS components include an underground drainage pipe network tied to both a constructed wetland and a water storage reservoir. With this type of system, the subsurface drains can be used to either add or remove water from the root zone, thereby enhancing crop yields, especially in dry years. Obtaining these crop yield benefits requires a proper water table management approach. Three WRSIS sites have been in place for several years within the northwest Ohio portion of the Maumee River Watershed. In addition to prior subirrigation research at other locations, operational experience and crop yield measurements at the three test sites have resulted in both design refinements and guideline development for improved water table management. The WRSIS water table management guidelines vary somewhat depending on whether wetter, near average, or drier conditions exist with respect to growing season rainfall. An environmental-hydrologic-hydraulic monitoring program has now been implemented to provide information on water movement and storage within the system, which will be used along with corn/soybean crop yield measurements to further fine-tune system design and water table management guidelines.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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