New Water Gate at Barton Research Center Providing Modern Water Table Management

by News Bureau on Thursday, Jun. 06, 2013

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 6, 2013 – A new water gate was installed last week in the subsurface drainage and subirrigation system at Southeast Missouri State University’s David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center.

USDA-NRCS assisted University officials in installing the system which will serve as a new tool for area producers who are using drainage/subirrigation systems. The water gate is a pressure float value system, which provides water table management without the need for stoplog boxes emerging above the surface of producer fields.

With the new system, producers can ensure they can manage their soils’ water tables for nutrient retention; as well as, yield increases. In the past, farmers had to be cautious in driving equipment and plowing around the boxes in order to avoid hitting them, said Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture.

Aide says the water gate is already in operation, providing water table management for a field of corn. Southeast is using the water gate to subirrigate corn by maintaining a water table at the bottom of the root zone. Aide says this is the first large-scale field having these subirrigation applications anywhere.

University researchers will be testing and monitoring the performance of the water gate for a full year, evaluating it during both drainage and subirrigation, Aide said. USDA-NRCS will assist Southeast with the testing.