Drainage Contractor

News Drainage Management Systems
Virtual field day to focus on bioreactor efficiency

January 29, 2024  By Drainage Contractor

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and Conservation Learning Group (CLG), is hosting a free virtual field day on Thursday, February 8 at 1 p.m. CT. Join us for a live discussion with Michelle Soupir, professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University, Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University and Ji Yeow Law, agricultural engineer at Iowa State University.

Denitrifying bioreactors are a key tool for reducing nitrate losses from Iowa’s landscape by routing tile drainage water through a trench filled with woodchips that encourages the process of denitrification. Currently, there are approximately two approved vendors of woodchips and with nearly 120,000 bioreactors called for in one of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy’s scenarios, there is a significant need for woodchips to fill those bioreactors. This virtual field day explores a new project led by Soupir and Beck to explore different woodchips used in bioreactors, as well as improving woodland management options for farmers and landowners to promote health and resilience of forested areas.

“With the need to significantly increase the number of bioreactors, we are looking at an all-sources approach,” noted Soupir. “This project looks to explore finding more wood, different types of wood, possibly different sized woodchips or even shredded wood to help provide the needed materials and maintain or improve the effective nitrate removal from these bioreactors.”

“Without active management, we are seeing a buildup of shade-tolerant species in the forest understory, like hackberry and basswood, leading to overstocked or crowded forests,” commented Beck. “While shade-tolerant species play an important ecological role, thinning overstocked woodlands will result in vigorous stands more resilient to disease, climatic shifts and other stressors.. This project also aims to develop a stronger market value for these species and promote more active forest management.”


Learn more and access the webinar here.

Print this page


Stories continue below