1 Introduction</h5> Subsurface (tile) drainage is used extensively throughout the U.S. Midwest, Canada, and northern Europe to lower the water table and drain soils that are seasonally or perennially wet ( Pavelis, 1987 ). It is often considered “the most extensive soil and water management activity in agriculture” ( Pavelis, 1987 ) and is required for economical agricultural production in many areas of the U.S. Midwest ( Zucker and Brown, 1998 ). Subsurface drainage can also negatively affect surface water quality ( Skaggs et al., 1994 ) as elevated nutrient concentrations in drainage waters are common (e.g., Gilliam et al., 1999 ). Recently, considerable attention has been given to the promotion of drainage water management (DWM) or controlled drainage as a potential best management practice (BMP) to reduce nutrient loads in drainage water while maintaining profitable crop production ( Nistor and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2007; Skaggs et al., 2012 ). There are, however, a limited number of studies that have documented the effectiveness of DWM in mitigating nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) loads ( Skaggs et al., 2012 ). An improved understanding of the effect of DWM on N and P dynamics in subsurface drainage systems is therefore critical to
Agricultural Water Management – Elsevier
Published: Jan 31, 2015
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