Investigating the Impact of Tile Management Practices on Water Resources

The off field movement of nutrients derived from liquid manure reflect an economic loss to farmers and can degrade environment. The HydroGeoSphere integrated groundwater - surface water model was used successfully to simulate liquid swine manure movement to freely draining tile drains and controlled tile drains in clay and sand soils, and during late fall and winter weather conditions.

Modelling results demonstrated how controlled tile drains can influence the flow of water and nutrients to tile drains following manure application. While modelling did show that controlled tile drains were able to reduce tile discharge volume in all scenarios evaluated, it also showed that the higher water table associated with controlled tile drains can act to increase downward hydraulic gradients, which can lead to higher concentrations of surface derived nutrients in the tile discharge.

This work was published in the Journal of Hydrology and was featured as Research Highlight on our Blog.