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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher H. Hay


Subsurface (tile) drainage is a common management practice on naturally poorly drained agricultural soils to provide for more timely field operations and improved productivity. Installation of artificial subsurface drainage systems may alter the soil water budget by changing timing and rate of subsurface water flow, potentially linking with altered hydrology response from the field to watershed scale. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to examine the impact of subsurface tile drainage on evapotranspiration (ET) at the field scale, which is the largest component of soil water budget after precipitation. The study was conducted for four growing seasons at three different sites from southeast North Dakota (Site 1, near Fairmount), southwest Minnesota (Site 2, near Tracy), and southeast South Dakota (Site 3, near Lennox). The growing seasons of 2009 and 2010 was planted to corn and soybean for Site 1, 2008 with soybean at Site 2, and 2013 with corn at Site 3. The METRIC (Mapping Evapotranspiration at high Resolution with Internalized Calibration) procedure was applied to estimate high resolution (30 m) ET from the field with and without subsurface tile drainage systems. Comparison of estimated ET is based on areas of interest (AOI) created within the satellite image delineating subfields with and without tile drainage. Each AOI for representing different drainage conditions had equal numbers of pixels. Areas represented by AOI for Site 1,Site 2, and Site 3 were 11.9 ha (132 pixels), 6.3 ha (70 pixels), and 7.6 ha (84 pixels), respectively.Greater ET rates were obtained from fields without tile drainage than those from tile drained fields during the early growing season. During the later growing season, ET rates were greater from tile drained fields. The total growing season ET was greater from fields without tile drainage for all study years except 2009 (corn) of study Site 1. The total ET was greater from the undrained field by 6% (33mm), 25% (107 mm), less than 0.5% (1 mm) for study period of 2010 (soybean) at Site 1, 2008 (soybean) at Site 2, and 2013 (corn) at Site 3, respectively. Greater ET from the tile drained field occurred for only 2009 (corn) at Site 1, which was less than 1% (3 mm). For the mid-June to mid- August period, the total ET was greater by 3% (8mm) from the drained field for 2009 at Site 1, 2% (7 mm) higher from the undrained field for 2010 at Site 1, 24% (59 mm) higher from the undrained field for 2008 at Site 2, and 2% higher from the undrained field for 2013 at Site 3.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Subsurface drainage
Evapotranspiration -- Remote sensing


Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-94)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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