Developing New Nitrogen Recommendations and Understanding of Water Quality Impacts under Irrigated Agriculture (Dakota County Site)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,838
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$23,176
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,554
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$35,572
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,122
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Dakota County Water Resources Department- Jill V. Trescott, (952) 891-7019
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
October 2011
End Date
June 2016
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Research
Counties Affected
Dakota
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, First Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (b) $2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrates in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation, including a substantial increase of monitoring of private wells in cooperation with the commissioner of health, monitoring for pesticides when nitrates are detected, and promoting and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices to protect groundwater from degradation.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,838
Direct expenses
$1,838
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

•Best Management Practices (BMPs) for coarse-textured soils are revised using data from the Dakota County site•Number of field days, presentations and other educational events that promote local BMPs and the number of farmers and crop advisors that attend•Number of different stakeholder groups engaged in nitrate monitoring and reduction activities

Measurable Outcome(s)

Staff working on the project hosted annual field days and other events to share information learned at this site. Approximately, 600 people attend these events, including many famers, crop advisers and agricultural industry reps.  The University of Minnesota Extension released a new publication "Fertilizing Corn Grown on Irrigated Sandy Soils" (AG-NM-1501) in early 2015. Reserach findings from this site were used in developing the recommendations found in the publication. Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in February 2012, 2014 and 2016. At the heart of the report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.The Dakota County Project is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and PLM6: Number of local government partners participating in Clean Water funded nitrate monitoring and reduction activities.

Description of Funds
Activities are supported through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Dakota County
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013- Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (b) $2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrates in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation, including a substantial increase of monitoring of private wells in cooperation with the commissioner of health, monitoring for pesticides when nitrates are detected, and promoting and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices to protect groundwater from degradation.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$23,176
Direct expenses
$23,176
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

  

Measurable Outcome(s)

See Fiscal Year 2016 for a summary

Description of Funds
Activities are supported through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Dakota County
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013- Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (b) $2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrates in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation, including a substantial increase of monitoring of private wells in cooperation with the commissioner of health, monitoring for pesticides when nitrates are detected, and promoting and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices to protect groundwater from degradation.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,554
Direct expenses
$36,554
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) for coarse-textured soils are revised using data from the Dakota County site
  • Number of field days, presentations and other educational events that promote local BMPs and the number of farmers and crop advisors that attend
  • Number of different stakeholder groups engaged in nitrate monitoring and reduction activities

 Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in February 2012 and 2014. At the heart of the report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures. The Dakota county Project is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and PLM6: Number of local government partners participating in Clean Water funded nitrate monitoring and reduction activities

Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of field days, presentations and other educational events that promote local BMPs and the number of farmers and crop advisors that attend ( 9 field days and 6 presentations with over 600 farmers, crop advisors, state agency staff and others in attendance)
  • Number of different stakeholder groups engaged in nitrate monitoring and reduction activities (3 partners at the Dakota County sitestatewide the MDA works with over 25 local partners on groundwater protection activities)

 

Description of Funds
Activities are supported through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Dakota County
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6,Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L.2011: (b) $850, 000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in high-risk areas and regionally and to promote and evaluate regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$35,572
Direct expenses
$35,572
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014 and 2016

Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014 and 2016

Description of Funds
Activities are supported through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Dakota County
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6,Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L.2011: (b) $850, 000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in high-risk areas and regionally and to promote and evaluate regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,122
Direct expenses
$36,122
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014 and 2016

Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014 and 2016

Description of Funds
Activities are supported through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Dakota County
Project Overview

This project provides information to better understand nitrogen fertilizer management and the potential impacts to local groundwater.

Goals:

  • Assess nitrogen loss resulting from different nitrogen fertilizer application rates, application timing and application methods on sandy soils
  • Evaluate technology such as delayed release nitrogen products ESN and Super Urea
  • Evaluate in-season nitrogen sensing tools such as Greenseeker and Spad Meters
  • Provide critical data to help the University of Minnesota revise nitrogen fertilizer recommendations for irrigated coarse-textured (sandy) soils

This project was supported through a unique partnership between Dakota County Water Resources Department, the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota-Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. It provided information to area producers and dealerships about best management practices (BMPs), new fertilizer recommendations and emerging fertilizer technology.

This research project is similar to work being done at the Herman Rosholt Farm in Westport, Minnesota

The MDA developed a Joint Powers Agreement with the Dakota County Water Resources Department; Dakota County was responsible for overall project coordination.

About the Issue

This project evaluated corn crop response and water quality impacts of different nitrogen practices in highly vulnerable irrigated settings. This site featured three crop rotations; corn on corn, corn following soybeans, and soybeans following corn and evaluated various nitrogen products, rates and application times. Nitrogen rates ranged from 0–280 lbs. Plots were irrigated by a center pivot in Dakota County.

Project Details

Water that escapes below the root zone of growing crops was analyzed for both volume and nitrate-nitrogen concentration. Soil water analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen concentration was collected in specialized equipment called "suction tube lysimeters" that were buried beneath the root zone throughout the study area. Soil water is pulled into the lysimeter through a ceramic tip that is under vacuum (pressure). Volume of soil water moving below the root zone was measured by drain gauges that were also buried in trenches below the surface so normal tillage and other farming operations could be performed. 

At the Dakota County site, the lysimeters were installed and removed annually to account for growing season losses. Samples were collected once per week during the entire cropping season (May-October) and after any significant rain event. Water samples were analyzed on-site using a Hach Ultraviolet Spectrophometer. Additionally, researchers used high tech, in-field chlorophyll meters to measure plant nitrogen concentrations and provide information about plant nutrition during the growing season. 

Research was conducted during the 2012-2015 cropping seasons.

Project Manager
First Name
Ryan
Last Name
Lemickson
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
15325 Babcock Avenue E., Ste 102
City
Rosement
State
MN
Zip Code
55068
Phone
(612) 209-9181
Email
ryan.lemickson@state.mn.us