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
Crop ProtectionZeal SC Miticide Now Registered With Liquid Formulation
June 26, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by the EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Disease ControlQuintec Fungicide Receives Label For Bacterial Spot Suppression In Tomatoes
June 26, 2015
Quintec fungicide from Dow AgroSciences, known as an effective treatment for suppressing bacterial spot in peppers, is now available to Read More
Crop ProtectionStay A Step Ahead Of Weeds
June 26, 2015
Weed control can be a tricky and costly task made all the more difficult by herbicide resistance and the push Read More
Fumigating strawberries
FruitsThere’s More Than One Way To Nix Nematodes
June 25, 2015
Compare and contrast these five nematicide products to find out what's the best fit for your farm. Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS Invasive Pest Quarantine Lab
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
NutsMinor Variations Are The X-Factor In Spray Applications
June 25, 2015
When you look at the logistics of herbicide applications, it is amazing to see how even the smallest deviations from Read More
squash vine borer larvae
CucurbitsVigilance A Must To Squelch Squash Vine Borer
June 23, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
The Latest
Crop ProtectionZeal SC Miticide Now Registered With Liquid Formulation
June 26, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by the EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Crop ProtectionStay A Step Ahead Of Weeds
June 26, 2015
Weed control can be a tricky and costly task made all the more difficult by herbicide resistance and the push Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS …
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
Crop ProtectionDowny Mildew Makes Early Appearance In Michigan Cucumbe…
June 23, 2015
An alert sent by Michigan State University (MSU) Extension confirms the presence of downy mildew on cucumber leaves in Michigan. Read More
BerriesCaptan Gold 4L Fungicide Now Registered In California
June 16, 2015
ADAMA has received EPA approval for Captan Gold 4L liquid fungicide for use on strawberries, tree fruits, and other specialty Read More
infrared image showing the difference between using crop termination fumigation in the field and not
Crop ProtectionMaximizing Nematode Management In Vegetables
June 12, 2015
Crop termination is the foundation of mitigating the soil pests for the following season. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Chart Helps Growers Choose The Best Cover Crop
June 9, 2015
USDA scientists have developed a Cover Crop Chart that helps growers determine the best cover crop to meet their management Read More
Bagrada bug
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug Has The Potential To Spread Throughout The …
June 9, 2015
The bagrada bug has moved into South Texas and has the potential to move to other areas of the U.S., Read More
Guava Fruit Fly specimen
CitrusLos Angeles County Under Quarantine Following Guava Fru…
June 9, 2015
A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the guava fruit fly (GFF) following the detection Read More
CitrusNealta Miticide Receives Registration In California
June 2, 2015
Nealta miticide from BASF has received registration for use in California. Nealta delivers long-lasting control of spider mites at all Read More
Crop ProtectionSmall Parasite May Contribute To Declines In Honey Bee …
June 2, 2015
A single-celled parasite may be infecting bee larvae. Read More
guava fruit fly
Crop ProtectionExotic Fruit Fly Found In Florida
June 2, 2015
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has positively identified the presence of two guava fruit flies, Bactrocera correcta, collected Read More
UF/IFAS developmental biologist Dennis Gray looks at the progress of grapevines in a vineyard.
Crop ProtectionResearcher Using ‘Precision Breeding’ To Cr…
May 20, 2015
Breakthrough would mean significant savings on pesticide and fungicide sprays. Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
Apples & PearsTips For Apogee Applications
May 13, 2015
Michigan State University Extension educators say applications at king bloom petal fall help suppress fire blight. Read More
CitrusSyngenta Rejects Monsanto’s Buyout Bid
May 8, 2015
Company says $45 billion offer undervalues future prospects. Read More
Crop ProtectionVestaron’s Bioinsecticide Now Registered For Use On Mor…
May 6, 2015
Bioagriculture company Vestaron has received expanded EPA registration for its biological insect control products. These bioinsecticides, which are derived from Read More