New Commitment promotes subsurface draining to build sustainable water and nutrient management
“Subsurface drainage is an important element in controlling the nutrient runoff from fields”, explains Seija Virtanen, the executive director at the Salaojituksen Tukisäätiö. “Subsurface draining affects the water balance of fields. If the water level of a field is high and the field is wet, both nutrient leaching and top soil erosion are increased with increased nutrient leakage to the water bodies”, Virtanen continues. “Keeping the water balance of field optimum for crops they are able to use efficiently nutrients and less remains available for leaching. By this way subsurface drainage directly helps to mitigate the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.“
Excess water is also harmful to soil structure. A wet field is more easily compacted under e.g. a tractor. If a field is compacted, plants have to struggle to get nutrients from the soil. Thus proper drainage affects also by this way the efficiency of nutrient use and crop production levels.
Salaojituksen Tukisäätiö has supported research projects related to subsurface draining since 1984. In their new commitment, they will establish a public land drainage database helping researchers and other interested bodies in finding results from drainage related research. Some of the reports are only in Finnish or Swedish but most of them have at least abstract in English. The goal is to launch the database on the web site of Salaojituksen Tukisäätiö by the end of May in 2016.
Salaojituksen Tukisäätiö has also committed in arranging national and international seminars where e.g. farmers, researchers and authorities are welcomed to discuss the best water management practices of fields, in relation to the Baltic Sea.
“The Commitment of Salaojituksen Tukisäätiö fits perfectly to the targets of BSAG. Subsurface drainage is an essential measure to obtain and maintain soil in good condition. Good soil condition in turn is crucial for sustainable food production and minimized nutrient leakage to the Baltic Sea. The Commitment is an important part of the chain of measures by which we can obtain a Living Baltic Sea.” says Marja Koljonen, a programme director at BSAG.