A field day focused on conservation drainage practices will be presented by Purdue Extension and the Indiana Land Improvement Contractors Association on Sept. 27 near Lafayette, Ind.
The Two-Stage Ditch and Bioreactor Field Day will take place at the Throckmorton-Purdue Agricultural Center, 8343 S. state Route 231, Lafayette.
A two-stage ditch is one constructed by adding benches that serve as floodplains, which stabilize the channel and remove nutrients that might otherwise runoff. Participants will watch installation of benches, which are about 10 feet wide, and erosion blankets.
They also can watch installation of a bioreactor, which is a large subsurface trench filled with wood chips, that reduces nitrate in drainage water. Wood chips serve as a carbon source for bacteria that turn the nitrate into nitrogen gas.
Purdue researchers will be monitoring water upstream and downstream of the conservation practices to determine their water quality benefits. “The goal is to quantify the price per pound of nitrogen reduction,” said Laura Bowling, Purdue University associate professor of agronomy and research project director.
The field day will begin at 7:45 a.m. with presentations followed by a guided tour. The presentations and tour will be repeated at 12:30 p.m. The site will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for viewing the construction.
“This is a unique opportunity for people to see the latest methods to reduce nitrate loads,” said Jane Frankenberger, Purdue Extension agricultural engineer.
Participants can register and find more information at https://engineering.purdue.edu/watersheds/event/twostage/
More information also is available by contacting Bowling at 765-494-8051; Frankenberger at 765-494-1194; or Jay Young, superintendent at Throckmorton Purdue Ag Center at 765-538-3422.
Program partners are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wabash River Enhancement Corporation and Tippecanoe County Soil and Water Conservation District.