Timmerman has been in communication with the ILF team for the past year and a half to discuss the possibility of building a Canadian version of the rainfall simulator/Conservation Station. We have provided his team with numerous photographs of the rainfall simulator as well as links to our YouTube videos, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it up close and in person! Timmerman accepted our invitation to visit the ISU campus and spend the full day visiting with our team about the design of our Conservation Station fleet, evaluation of our outreach programs, and taking hundreds of photos of the inner workings of the trailer fleet.
It was very interesting to hear from Mr. Timmerman about the similarities and differences, as well as challenges and opportunities, related to agricultural production in Manitoba compared to Iowa. Their cropping systems include several different kinds of beans (soybeans, field beans and edible beans – although he wasn’t exactly sure how to explain the differences!), canola, flax, sunflowers, and more.
Southern Manitoba, where Timmerman is located, is in the heart of the Lake Winnipeg watershed. Lake Winnipeg has experienced high levels of nutrient loading and frequent algal blooms in previous years. They face some of the same challenges we do here in the Upper Midwest, in terms of it being a very large watershed with a diversity of land management practices and agricultural production, like the Mississippi River Basin.
Spring snowmelt (shown above) is also a big challenge, and Timmerman’s MAFRI group has designed a portable snowmelt demonstration to help demonstrate the impacts of snowmelt on sediment and nutrient transport.
We wish them best of luck in designing and building their own rainfall simulator, and we were happy to share what we’ve learned in building and traveling with our fleet of three Conservation Station trailers.
On a closing note, Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north!