Comment from Dr. Arthur Wallace
Soil Enhancement Technologies
7220 South Fraser Street
Englewood, CO 80112
Tel: (310) 615-0116; Fax: (310) 640-6863
RE: the Gulf of Mexico deadzone reduction
We suggest that research be done on the following concept:
The NRCS-USDA has successfully promoted the control of furrow-irrigation in Western States by putting water-soluble polyacrylamide (PAM) into the irrigation water (over 90% reduction of erosion). Runoff of sediment containing phosphate, pesticides, other organic matter etc. was decreased. The technique of course is not directly useable on the rainfed agriculture in the watershed you are concerned about but there is an innovation that could make it possible and make a difference on most soils.
The volume of regular commercial type PAM needed is too large to be economical for crop dusting because of particle size but a Micronized version can be applied with a duster such as the Herd Feeder to achieve a density of particles that when slightly tilled could prevent sediment loss with perhaps as little as one pound per acre-the level used in furrow irrigation, so the price could be right. There would also be less nitrogen runoff because water penetration into soil would be increased. Another result is less fertilizer nitrogen need be applied. There could be additional benefits to farmers.
In all the research you do, this should be one of them. The Soil Enhancement Technologies Co. of Denver, CO owns the Micronized PAM but anyone can do the research, perhaps at one or more Experiment Stations in the Midwest. There is a lot of relevant information on our website www.SoilEnhance.com.
We know that this is but one aspect of a multiple phase problem. Can we be of help to anyone?
Millions of acres could be economically treated to give a huge reduction of sediment going to rivers.