Ten Ways to Reduce Nitrate Loss from Drained Lands

Across the Mississippi River Basin, 45% reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus loads are necessary to meet national goals established to reduce the size of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. There are a number of practices now being promoted as a part of state nutrient strategies, all of which have different N-reduction effectiveness, spatial suitability, additional benefits and impacts, and cost. No one practice will be suitable for every acre, but every acre needs at least one new practice.

With funding from the North Central Region Water Network, a group of extension professionals along with agricultural organization partners developed a comprehensive package of information about these drainage water quality-improvement practices. The Ten Ways strategies include in-field cropping and management strategies (i.e., practices that reduce nitrate in the root zone), in-field strategies that modify the drainage system (i.e., practices that reduce delivery of nitrate to the field’s edge), and edge-of-field strategies (i.e., practices that remove nitrate at the edge of the field or downstream).

Ten Ways Outreach Kit

Download the Ten Ways Outreach Kit and make sure you have everything you need to learn and discuss the different strategies to reduce nitrate. The kit includes the full Ten Ways Booklet, the Ten Ways Summary Factsheet, a Ten Ways PowerPoint suite, and a Ten Ways walk-through guide.

To order printed copies of the booklet or factsheet email Laura Christianson at LEChris@Illinois.edu. Visit the Illinois Drainage and Research and Outreach website for additional information.


Laura Christianson
Crop Sciences, University of Illinois

Jane Frankenberger
Agricultural and Biological Engineering,  Purdue University

Chris Hay
Iowa Soybean Association

Matt Helmers

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University


Gary Sands
Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota