New Data Dives Into Drainage Water Recycling Systems' Effects On Corn Yield

posted 10/1/2021

As more research goes into drainage water recycling systems, a new report from the Transforming Drainage project shows that drainage water recycling systems not only provide a benefit to the environment, but can also improve corn yields.

Drainage water recycling involves closed-loop drainage systems in which surface and subsurface drainage water are stored in a reservoir and then reused in supplemental irrigation. Water level control structures are spaced through water management zones based on the field’s slope, and flow is adjusted to retain or drain water based on need.

Ultimately, researchers found that the systems helped to make yield more predictable, reducing yield variability by 28 percent over 53 site-years of work. The biggest increases were seen in dry years, when corn is most vulnerable. However, soil characteristics also play a major role in yield benefits of drainage water recycling – deep soils with high water capacities are less likely to be affected by short, dry periods, thus benefitting less from irrigation.

Read the full article here.