NOVELTY, Mo. — A recent report through the Transforming Drainage project shows that drainage water recycling systems can improve corn yields and the environment, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Kelly Nelson.Nearly two-thirds of the site-years evaluated in the study saw an increase in yield compared to free drainage, with an overall average yield increase of 19 bushels per acre, according to a University of Missouri news release.The study looked at data from seven sites in the Midwest. These included silt loam fields in Shelby and Knox counties in Missouri, which are part of MU’s Lee Greenley Jr. Memorial Research Center, as well as two sites in Minnesota and three sites in Ohio.Researchers found that drainage recycling systems reduced yield variability by 28% over 53 site-years of work. This increases the resilience of the crop system and improves food security, Nelson says.A combination of drainage and subirrigation also protects the environment by keeping nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from entering downstream waterways, he says. That nutrient-rich water is recycled through irrigation.
…The report was written by collaborators from MU, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the agricultural biotechnology company Benson Hill. Nelson, Lori Abendroth of the USDA-ARS in Columbia and doctoral student Rebecca Willison worked on the research for the publication.