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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Heilman, Philip - Phil
item Malone, Robert - Rob
item Ma, Liwang
item Hatfield, Jerry
item Ahuja, Lajpat - Laj
item Ayen, J.
item Boyle, K.
item Kanwar, R.

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Modeling and Software
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2006
Publication Date: 5/10/2006
Citation: Heilman, P., Malone, R.W., Ma, L., Hatfield, J.L., Ahuja, L.R., Ayen, J., Boyle, K., Kanwar, R. 2006. Decision support for nitrogen management in tile drained agriculture. In: Jakeman, A., Rizzoli, A. (eds). Proceedings of the IEMSs Third Biennial Meeting: "Summit on Environmental Modelling and Software". International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, Burlington, USA, July 2006. CD ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Farmers will adopt alternative management systems to improve water quality more readily if they understand how those management alternatives affect the release of contaminants, crop yields, and net income. We propose a method to address these issues by integrating observed data from field experiments, a comprehensive simulation model, review by local experts, and application through a decision support system by technically trained conservationists. A case study for reducing nitrogen loading from tile-drained corn and soybean production in Iowa presents the approach. Observed data from 36 research plots on the Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua, Iowa is used to calibrate the Rootzone Water Quality Model (RZWQM). A modeler then simulates the effects of a suite of alternative management systems on crop yields and N loadings into tile drains. The EconDocs tool is used for economic analysis of management effects. An Expert Panel then reviews the simulations and the long term average annual management effects. Those management effects, as well as the daily values of variables that describe the crop growth and nitrogen loading in tile flow processes, are put into a database. As part of the conservation planning process, farmers use a decision support system with the database, under the guidance of Conservationists in the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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