MSU studying conservation effectiveness in Great Lakes

Additional state funding will help researchers at Michigan State University continue to study the impact of conservation practices on the Great Lakes.

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering researcher Ehsan Ghane tells Brownfield water management is just as essential as nutrient management to reduce phosphorus loading.

“Nutrients like phosphorus move with water so if we can manage the water and reduce how much water leaves, then we can reduce phosphorus loss,” he explains.

Ghane has been monitoring water quality for the past five years at three partner farms in the River Raisin Watershed, which drains into Lake Erie, to compare the impact of conservation practices.

“We want to look at it across variable rainfall events, weather events, and variable crops so we can make a really robust finding,” he shares.

A new $1.2 million grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will expand the research of controlled drainage and saturated buffers water management systems.  The work so far has shown as much as 25 percent phosphorus loss with the practices compared to control fields.

The Michigan Tile Drainage Field Day next week will show farmers how to install a controlled drainage structure and feature some of Ghane’s research.

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