Did you know that updating Iowa's 100-year-old drainage system helps reduce fertilizer usage and allows crops to better absorb nutrients? When that water is channeled through new conservation structures, it leads to improved water quality for everyone.



Iowa Minute Transcript

Laurie Johns: I know, come spring, I might have some erosion and lose some mulch again. As a master gardener I know it's not as easy as just changing up the plants; I'm going to have to improve drainage. I have that problem. So does rural Iowa.

Many farmers have to figure out how to handle torrential rains, grow food, and enhance conservation. Well, a new ISU study shows improving drainage could be the key.

Dr. Michael Castellano, Iowa State University Agronomist: In Iowa, our drainage pipes are ready for an upgrade. They're over 100 years old now in most situations. Increasing the amount of drainage in fields will increase the amount of space that the roots can explore. As a result, they can increase their nutrient use efficiency and it can actually allow us to reduce the amount of fertilizer inputs.

Laurie Johns: And, channeling that water through new conservation structures means cleaner water downstream. To learn more about those practices farmers are using and their progress, check out ConservationCountsIowa.com. With your Iowa Minute, I'm Laurie Johns.