IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Extending results from agricultural fields with intensively monitored data to surrounding areas for water quality management

Listed author(s):
  • Heilman, P.
  • Malone, R.W.
  • Ma, L.
  • Hatfield, J.L.
  • Ahuja, L.R.
  • Boyle, K.P.
  • Kanwar, R.S.
Registered author(s):

    A 45% reduction in riverine total nitrogen flux from the 1980–1996 time period is needed to meet water quality goals in the Mississippi Basin and Gulf of Mexico. This paper addresses the goal of reducing nitrogen in the Mississippi River through three objectives. First, the paper outlines an approach to the site-specific quantification of management effects on nitrogen loading from tile drained agriculture using a simulation model and expert review. Second, information about the net returns to farmers is integrated with the nitrogen loading information to assess the incentives to adopt alternative management systems. Third, the results are presented in a decision support framework that compares the rankings of management systems based on observed and simulated values for net returns and nitrogen loading. The specific question addressed is how information about the physical and biological processes at Iowa State University’s Northeast Research Farm near Nashua, Iowa, could be applied over a large area to help farmers select management systems to reduce nitrogen loading in tile drained areas. Previous research has documented the parameterization and calibration of the RZWQM model at Nashua to simulate 35 management system effects on corn and soybean yields and N loading in tileflow from 1990 to 2003. As most management systems were studied for a 6year period and in some cases weather had substantial impacts, a set of 30 alternative management systems were also simulated using a common 1974–2003 input climate dataset. To integrate an understanding of the economics of N management, we calculated net returns for all management systems using the DevTreks social budgeting tool. We ranked the 35 observed systems in the Facilitator decision support tool using N loading and net returns and found that rankings from simulated results were very similar to those from the observed results from both an onsite and offsite perspective. We analyzed the effects of tillage, crop rotation, cover crops, and N application method, timing, and amount for the 30 long term simulations on net returns and N loading. The primary contribution of this paper is an approach to creating a quality assured database of management effects on nitrogen loading and net returns for tile drained agriculture in the Mississippi Basin. Such a database would systematically extend data from intensively monitored agricultural fields to the larger area those fields represent.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 106 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 59-71

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:106:y:2012:i:1:p:59-71
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2011.10.010
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Daniel R. Petrolia & Prasanna H. Gowda, 2006. "Missing the Boat: Midwest Farm Drainage and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 240-253.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:106:y:2012:i:1:p:59-71. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.