Impacts of supplementary drainage on the water balance of a poorly drained agricultural field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • The Finnish Field Drainage Association
  • Luke Natural Resources Institute Finland
  • University of Helsinki

Abstract

In northern clay soils, field drainage is needed to ensure suitable moisture conditions for crop growth and farming operations. Supplementary drainage installations improve the efficiency of old drainage systems, but the hydrological impacts of the drainage procedures are not comprehensively understood or quantified. The objective was to simulate the hydrological behavior of a clay field section and to quantify the effects of a supplementary drainage on the water balance of the field section. The study site, in southern Finland, was originally subsurface drained in 1952 with 32 m drain spacing. Supplementary drainage was installed in 2014, decreasing the drain spacing to 10.7 m. Simulations were carried out with a dual-permeability hydrological model and two model parametrizations describing the field hydrology (1)before and (2)after the supplementary drainage installation. The parameterizations were used for simulations of a nine-year period to quantify the hydrological impacts of the supplementary drainage. For the periods without snow on the ground, the modified Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency for daily drain discharge and topsoil layer runoff values ranged from 0.43 to 0.53 and from 0.44 to 0.53, respectively. During the original drainage setup scenario, the average annual drain discharge was lower (7.8% of precipitation)than topsoil layer runoff and groundwater outflow (10.3% and 26.4%, respectively). For the supplementary drainage scenario, most of the water outflow was through drain discharge and groundwater outflow (20.4% and 21.9%, respectively). The supplementary drainage installation increased the average annual drain discharge by a factor of 2.6, while the annual average topsoil layer runoff and groundwater outflow decreased by 75% and 18%, respectively. The supplementary drainage setup was found to expedite the drying of the field section in spring by 8 days on average compared to the original drainage setup.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number105568
Number of pages11
JournalAGRICULTURAL WATER MANAGEMENT
Volume223
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Clayey field, FLUSH model, Groundwater outflow, Macropores

ID: 34637146