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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382531

Research Project: Long-term Management of Water Resources in the Central Mississippi River Basin

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Transforming Drainage Research Data (USDA-NIFA Award No. 2015-68007-23193)

item CHIGHLADZE, GIORGI - Iowa State University
item Abendroth, Lori
item HERZMANN, DARYL - Iowa State University
item HELMERS, MATTHEW - Iowa State University
item AHIABLAME, LAURENT - University Of California
item Allred, Barry
item BOWLING, LAURA - Purdue University
item BROWN, LARRY - The Ohio State University
item FAUSEY, NORMAN - Retired ARS Employee
item FRANKENBERGER, JANE - Purdue University
item JAYNES, DAN - Retired ARS Employee
item JIA, XINHUA - North Dakota State University
item KJAERSGAARD, JEPPE - Minnesota Department Of Agriculture
item King, Kevin
item KLADIVKO, EILEEN - Purdue University
item NELSON, KELLY - University Of Missouri
item PEASE, LINDSAY - University Of Minnesota
item REINHART, BENJAMIN - Purdue University
item STROCK, JEFF - University Of Minnesota
item YOUSSEF, MOHAMED - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Ag Data Commons
Publication Type: Database / Dataset
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/18/2021
Publication Date: 3/18/2021
Citation: Chighladze, G., Abendroth, L.J., Herzmann, D., Helmers, M., Ahiablame, L., Allred, B.J., Bowling, L., Brown, L., Fausey, N., Frankenberger, J., Jaynes, D., Jia, X., Kjaersgaard, J., King, K.W., Kladivko, E., Nelson, K., Pease, L., Reinhart, B., Strock, J., Youssef, M. 2021. Transforming Drainage Research Data (USDA-NIFA Award No. 2015-68007-23193) [dataset]. Ag Data Commons. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This dataset contains research data from a set of experiments carried out by the “Managing Water for Increased Resiliency of Drained Agricultural Landscapes” project a.k.a. Transforming Drainage. This project was funded from 2015-2020 by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA, Award No. 2015-68007-23193). Data are also available from a separate web-accessible application ( At, users can visualize the data with customized tools, query based on specific sites and measurements of interest, and access site photographs, maps, summaries, and publications. Additional data or edits made following the publication of this data here at USDA NAL Ag Data Commons will be posted under the Versions tab on These data began in 1996 and include plot- and field-level measurements for 39 experiments across the Midwest and North Carolina. Practices studied include controlled drainage, drainage water recycling, and saturated buffers. In total, 219 variables are reported and span 207 site-years for tile drainage, 154 for nitrate-N load, 181 for water quality, 92 for water table, and 201 for crop yield. The Transforming Drainage Project worked to advance the process of designing and implementing agricultural drainage systems for storing water in the landscape to improve the resiliency and productivity of agricultural systems. The data describe three practices overall: Controlled Drainage (CD) is the practice of using a water control structure to raise the depth of the drainage outlet, holding water in the field during periods when drainage is not needed. While field experiments with controlled drainage have often concentrated on water quality benefits, this project focuses on the potential of in-field water storage for crop production benefits. Drainage Water Recycling (DWR) diverts subsurface drainage water into on-farm ponds or reservoirs, where it is stored until it can be used by the crop later in the season. Drainage used in conjunction with supplemental irrigation of crops in the summer is an efficient management system that improves water quality and sustains agricultural viability. Saturated Buffer (SB) is one of the innovative practices designed to store drain water in the landscape, specifically in field buffers, by diverting tile water into shallow lateral control structures that raise the water table and slow outflow.