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Potential Suitability of Subirrigation for Field Crops in the U.S. Midwest  Open Access

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 63(5): 1559-1570. (doi: 10.13031/trans.13783) @2020
Authors:   Feng Yu, Jane Frankenberger, Jason Ackerson, Benjamin Reinhart
Keywords:   Controlled drainage, Fuzzy rating, Geographic information system (GIS), Gridded Soil Survey Geographic Database (gSSURGO), Midwestern U.S., Subirrigation.


A fuzzy rating system was created based on published criteria for subirrigation suitability.

Maps showing potential suitability for subirrigation were created for the U.S. Midwest.

78,500 km2 across the U.S. Midwest is potentially suitability for subirrigation.

Maps identify potential subirrigation locations pending onsite assessment.

Abstract. Subirrigation through subsurface tile drains has potential to increase crop yields and improve water quality in tile-drained landscapes, but it has not been widely implemented. Identifying locations with high potential suitability for subirrigation may help the planning and implementation of this practice. In this study, we developed a fuzzy rating system for subirrigation suitability using the Gridded Soil Survey Geographic Database (gSSURGO). Maps of the fuzzy rating system identified locations of high potential suitability for subirrigation and highlighted physiographic regions highly conducive to the practice. We identified 78,500 km2, about 9%, of agricultural land in the Midwest with high potential suitability for subirrigation where onsite investigation may be targeted. The largest areas of high potential suitability were found in Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana. Results from the fuzzy rating analysis are provided to the public through three channels: a downloadable data repository, map service, and web map tool. Ultimately, this study can facilitate the adoption of subirrigation by highlighting areas where subirrigation may potentially be a viable practice.

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