Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013ND270B

Sodic soil characterization and management on subsurface drainage

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $4,300 Total Non-Federal Funds: $7,474

Principal Investigators: Tom DeSutter

Abstract: Many soils in North Dakota are being drained through the use of subsurface tiles. The purpose of subsurface drainage is to decrease excess soil water, specifically at times of planting and harvesting and to remove soluble salts from the root zone. However, many of the soils may be negatively impacted because sodium is part of the exchange complex. Sodium is known as a dispersant and this dispersion is accelerated when the concentration of soluble salts concentration is reduced, which will likely occur in tile-drained soils. Dispersion can lead to decreased Ksat, water percolation, and increased runoff, and finally decrease drainage performance. Currently there are no management strategies that have been developed to help combat the effects of dispersion or to prevent dispersion from occurring.The objectives of this research are to (1) determine physical and chemical properties (Ksat, dispersion, swelling, and pore volumes of water) of sodic soils, and (2) develop both laboratory and simulation experiments (equations and computer-based models) to determine calcium requirements for ND soils.If the physical and chemical characteristics of sodic soil series are known, precautions and/or recommendations can be made prior to tile installation to reduce the loss of soil function.