Calibration and Evaluation of Subsurface Drainage Component of RZWQM V.2.5

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Singh, P.
Kanwar, Ramesh
Johnsen, K.
Ahuja, Lajpat
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Kanwar, Rameshwar
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

This study was designed to calibrate and evaluate the subsurface drain flow component of the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM; Version 2.5) for four tillage-systems: chisel plow (CP), moldboard plow (MB), no-tillage (NT), and ridge-tillage (RT). Measured subsurface drain flow data for 1990 was used for model calibration. Main parameters calibrated were lateral saturated hydraulic conductivity, and effective porosity. Subsurface drain flow predictions were made using calibrated parameters and compared with measured subsurface drain flows for 1991 and 1992. Measured subsurface drain flow data for all 3 yrs was obtained from the Nashua Water Quality Site in Iowa. The model, in general, showed a good agreement between measured and predicted subsurface drain flow values, although discrepancies existed for several days of a given year. Coefficients of determination calculated for predicted vs. measured daily subsurface drain flows ranged from 0.51 to 0.68 for 1990, 0.70 to 0.78 for 1991, and 0.54 to 0.69 for 1992. Simulated tillage effect on subsurface drain flows for 1991 and 1992 were consistent with those for calibrated year 1990 (maximum subsurface drain flow was observed under NT and minimum under MB). However, observed tillage effects varied from year to year, indicating a change in soil hydraulic properties, e.g., macroporosity. Other factors that could have caused the discrepancies between measured and simulated subsurface drain flows were: groundwater flux due to natural gradient, deep seepage, inaccuracies involved in the estimation of breakpoint rainfall data, and spatial variability in soil properties.


This article is from JEQ 25 (1996): 56–63, doi:10.2134/jeq1996.00472425002500010007x.