Click on “Download PDF” for the PDF version or on the title for the HTML version.


If you are not an ASABE member or if your employer has not arranged for access to the full-text, Click here for options.

Shallow Subsurface Drains to Reduce Nitrate Losses from Drained Agricultural Lands

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032320,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13833) @2003
Authors:   M.R. Burchell II, R.W. Skaggs, G.M. Chescheir, J.W. Gilliam, L.A. Arnold
Keywords:   Drainage, drain depth, nitrate, groundwater, swine wastewater

Data was collected between January 2001-September 2002 from two drainage systems near Plymouth, N.C. to evaluate the effect of subsurface drain depth on nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 --N) losses. Drains in Plot 1 were 1.5 m deep and 25 m apart, and drains in Plot 2 were 0.75 m deep and 12.5 m apart. Both plots received swine wastewater applications. Overall, decreased drain depth reduced drainage outflows by 42%. Lower NO3 --N concentrations were observed in the shallow groundwater beneath the shallow drainage plots as a result of higher water tables and increased denitrification. However, NO3 --N concentrations in the drainage water from the shallow drains were not reduced. On average, NO3 --N export from the shallow subsurface drains was 8 kg/ha in 2001 and 27 kg/ha in 2002. Nitrate export from the deeper drains was 6 kg/ha in 2001 and 37 kg/ha in 2002. Overall, an average of 8 kg/ha less NO3 --N was exported from the shallow subsurface drainage system. Decreased export observed in 2002 from the shallow subsurface drainage system was significant at the 10% level, but not for the entire 21-month period.

(Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)