Arliss Nielsen | Woolworth

Drainage Water Management is a conservation practice included in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy and included in several of the current Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Projects. A field demonstration event at the Arliss Nielsen Farms showcased a recently installed Drainage Water Management system.

Q. What exactly is Drainage Water Management (DWM)? 
A. DWM system allows the producer, through water control structures installed in his tile line, control the flow of the tile water--stop or slow the flow in dry conditions for the crop to utilize and have regular flow in wet times.

Q. What made you decide to install a DWM system in your 320 acre parcel?
A. I do not want the nitrogen I have paid for to leave my fields. I want it to stay on the field so the crops can utilize the nitrogen. I also have concern for issues nitrates can cause when they reach the streams and rivers.

Q. What type of location is best for a DWM system? 
A. The farm field has to be flat. The silo on my farm has the name of my farm on it--"Level Acres". Even though my farm is level, I still needed to install a few water gates in the tile line for every foot or so of tile elevation.  Q. Was it difficult to find a contractor and get a design done?  A. The contractor out of Woolstock was very interested in being part of this project. He too, believes in this conservation practice. NRCS helped in the design of this project. 

Q. Now that you've had a DWM system on your field, what do you think about it?
A. I like it and I am pleased so far. I like the challenge on adjusting the stop logs in the water control structures for optimum use of the nitrogen I have applied.

Q. What water quality practices have you used on your farm?
A. We no till, use cover crops, installed a bioreactor about 2.5 years ago, have wildlife food plots, CRP parcels, and we split apply our nitrogen.

Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. Conservation has always been part of our farming operation. This was another practice to add.

Q. What, if any, assistance did you receive to incorporate these practices (financial as well as technical)?
A. We had help with the NRCS on the design of the DWM system and we had some cost share through the WQI Boone River Watershed project.

Q. What is your philosophy as it relates to farming and the environment?
A. We have always done conservation practices on our farm ground and we plan to continue. Farming and conservation, for the long term, pays off.