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Online videos show viewer how to nab nitrates

You may have heard of bioreactors or conservation drainage, but chances are, you haven’t seen how these two new practices take nitrates out of underground tile waters. That’s not surprising; like the tile water they cleanse, they do their work unseen, underground, with little fanfare or maintenance.

Key Points

Online videos show how new practices cleanse tile waters.

Viewers can learn in a short time about a practice and its installation.

Videos produced under a conservation innovation grant from the USDA NRCS.

On the other hand, you can see what’s aboveground with two other nitrate removal practices — working wetlands and riparian forest buffers. But the key to how they work is also what they do undeground or underwater.

Videos show how they work

“Since these are fairly new water quality practices and you can’t watch them work in person, we produced short videos with animation of what’s happening underground to introduce the practices to farmers, conservationists and anyone else interested in improving the quality of water leaving farmlands,” says Jim Frederick, vice chairman of the Missouri and Mississippi Divide Resources Conservation and Development in Glidden, Iowa.

Frederick says that in a matter of two or three minutes for each practice, the viewer can get a pretty good idea of what’s involved in getting the practice installed and how it works. The four nitrate removal practices are explained in both English and Spanish, on the website at; click on the “Projects” link.

The online videos were produced under a conservation innovation grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, with additional funding and other support from a number of organizations and agencies in Iowa.

The supporting partners include the Des Moines Water Works; Iowa Soybean Association; Iowa Environmental Council; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Iowa Department of Agriculture — Soil Conservation Division; Agri Drain Corp.; Raccoon River Watershed Association; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; Soil and Water Conservation Society; Carroll County Extension Council; Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District; Iowa Conservation Education Coalition; and the Iowa Chapter, Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Betts writes from Johnston.


4 WAYS TO NAB NITRATES: Four new presentations show how practices can remove nitrates from water before it leaves the farm.

This article published in the July, 2012 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.