North Central SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product
Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate in Agricultural Drainage
Woodchip bioreactors, installed at the edge of agricultural fields, can remove 15 to 60 percent of the nitrate in tile-drained water annually. This innovative approach for protecting the water quality in Midwest streams and rivers is described in a new fact sheet available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Iowa State University graduate student Laura Christianson and ISU ag and biosystems engineer Matthew Helmers authored the publication. They researched bioreactors in a project funded in part by a 2009 North Central SARE graduate student grant. In 2012, they won a Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for this publication.
Bioreactors—buried trenches filled with wood chips—capture and treat water from tile drainage before it reaches streams and rivers. Because bioreactors fit well in buffer strips or grassy areas at the edges of fields, typically no land is taken out of production. The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) offers a one-time payment of $3,999 for installation, which covers roughly half the cost.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) GNC09-103, Producer Education of Nitrate Reduction Strategies and Evaluation of Acceptance.
How to Order
Online Version (Free)
To order a print copy, visit the Iowa State University Extension store and search for PMR 1008.
These products were developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within these products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.