Potato BMPs Have Farmers Examining Drainage, Tailwater Storage

Conservation CooperationPotato growers in the Tri-County Agricultural Area in Florida find themselves under increased scrutiny as water quality issues in the St. Johns River and its estuaries have caught the public’s attention in recent years. The region is now classified as a priority area to reduce nutrient runoff into waterways.

Growers have utilized BMPs to remain in compliance with water regulation. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Water Policy issued additional rules for potato farms in the Tri-County Agricultural Area when growers apply more than the UF/IFAS-recommended rates for nitrogen and phosphorus.

Proactive Measures

Traditionally, growers have applied 180 to 200 hundred pounds of nitrogen at planting to carry a crop through to harvest. Heavy rainfall events can lead to leeching of the nutrients. Part of the proactive measure outlined in the BMPs, include on-site water management to retain nutrients.
“Potato growers are aggressively looking for ways to manage their nutrient loads,” says Matt Palmer, a technical representative with Advanced Drainage System Inc. “We are looking to help growers with a complete system to effectively manage the soil profile, which is in the top 24 to 36 inches that most all of our crops develop their root structure in.”
Controlled drainage systems are being considered because they can allow growers to reclaim water for use during drought cycles and remove and capture excess water during rainfall events. They systems are more advanced in design than earlier generations of tile to move water.
The Advanced Drainage System’s Irr-Drain consists of laterals of perforated, corrugated pipe placed three feet below the soil surface. The laterals can be connected to a perimeter piping system for conveyance and/or storage.

Collect And Reuse

One of the drawbacks of rapidly moving water out of a field is it can also take water soluble nutrients with it — the nitrogen and phosphorous applied at planting. “Because of the design of drainage system, it is capable of capturing as much as 98% of the nutrient-rich excess water that would otherwise go into the water table,” says Palmer. “Water control structures can move it to collection areas like ponds and canals to be used again in overhead irrigation.”
Controlled drainage provides both a BMP benefit and an agronomic benefit. Capturing the water keeps nutrients from entering protected waterways and growers who store it in tailwater ponds get a fertility benefit by reapplying the water to the crops.
“Having the ability to control soil profile in the root zone allows the grower to maintain a saturation rate that is optimal for a specific crop,” says Palmer. “A well-designed system maximizes the efficiency by which the soil can properly drain excess water out of the soil profile leaving space between the soil and water molecules that fill with needed oxygen that feed the aerobic bacteria that are good for the root system.”

Tailwater Tips

The following are items to take into account when constructing a tailwater storage reservoir:

  • Consider the runoff volume and rate, as well as the water control level in the tailwater pond when determining the proper size of the storage facility.
  • Look at the size of tailwater recovery system, considering variables such as land available, gravity drainage, number of fields and their acreage, and the source and quality of irrigation water.
  • Locate tailwater reservoirs on the low end of field(s), so that some of the water collection can be done by gravity.
  • Tailwater systems may require additional filtering infrastructure, depending on the quality of water being captured, type of irrigation system being used, and type of crop being grown.
Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
Disease ControlWebcast: Control High Tunnel Tomato Diseases
April 13, 2015
As part of a series of free educational webcasts on The Plant Management Network, a nonprofit online resource for researchers, Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
NutsPart 1: Spring Weed Management Tips For Almonds
April 8, 2015
Avoid common weed management mistakes to ensure optimum weed control in the orchard. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Outdoor Uses
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Bagrada bug
Insect Control7 Things You Need To Know About The Bagrada Bug
April 2, 2015
Bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris), a species of stink bug also known as “painted bug,” is a major concern on vegetables, Read More
blue orchard bee
Integrated Pest ManagementBlue Orchard Bee Shows Promise As An Alternative Pollinator In Almonds
March 30, 2015
The native bee Osmia lignaria could soon be a valuable piece of the pollinator mix, especially for smaller almond growers. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
The Latest
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, …
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Fungicide, Orondis, Announced By Syngenta
March 18, 2015
The fungicide provides protection against late blight, downy mildews, and Phytophthora root and stem blights. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Registration In California
March 16, 2015
The product is now approved in California for use on a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNufarm Announces Two New Fungicide Registrations For Sp…
March 13, 2015
Both 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use on greenhouse vegetables and backyard fruit. Read More
Crop ProtectionStudy Shows Plants Can Tell Difference Between Attackin…
March 9, 2015
Scientists at the University of Missouri make a discovery that will allow plant breeders to target insect species when developing crops. Read More
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference &…
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionSurvey Shows Growers Seek New Strategies To Control Thr…
March 4, 2015
Growers surveyed at the 2015 Southeast Regional Fruit And Vegetable Conference list thrips as major pest concern, and are looking for new technologies to combat pests. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
Crop ProtectionFMC Launches Biological Fungicide With New Mode Of Acti…
February 18, 2015
The broad spectrum fungicide, Fracture, is labeled for prevention and control of powdery mildew, botrytis, and brown rot blossom blight. Read More
David Holden
CitrusBiopesticides, Biostimulants Show Results In Fruits And…
February 18, 2015
From biostimulants in celery and avocado to biopesticides in citrus and strawberries, consultant David Holden conducts in-the-field research that attests to the effectiveness of biocontrols. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Conference Helps You Incorporate Biocontrols
February 10, 2015
How well do you know biocontrol? The first-ever Biocontrols Conference & Tradeshow is ready to help. Read More