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New approach to tile drainage could treat more water

SIUC professor says 50 percent improvement in nutrient losses could be achievable by laying tile line in a different pattern.


January 2, 2019
By Farm Week Now

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There are new projects in Illinois that would change the look of a field-tiling projet from parallel lines to a pitchfork pattern and change the way water flows from a field.

Jon Schoonover, professor in Southern Illinois University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is using saturated buffers as an end-of-field approach to keeping nutrients from flowing downstream.

“Where that main line would typically empty into the stream, the ditch or out the hillside, we’re putting in a control structure right before that and then diverting the water from there laterally,” he said. “And when you reduce the flow you reduce the load of the nutrient going out.” With some of the designs Schoonover is researching, he’s set a goal of up to a 50 percent reduction of that nutrient load leaving the field. In addition, by using a pitchfork pattern, he hopes to extend the life of the tile, creating cost savings over time. | READ MORE