Nitrate nitrogen in surface waters as influenced by climatic conditions and agricultural practices

G. W. Randall, D J Mulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

323 Scopus citations

Abstract

Subsurface tile drainage from row-crop agricultural production systems has been identified as a major source of nitrate entering surface waters in the Mississippi River basin. Noncontrollable factors such as precipitation and mineralization of soil organic matter have a tremendous effect on drainage losses, nitrate concentrations, and nitrate loadings in subsurface drainage water. Cropping system and nutrient management inputs are controllable factors that have a varying influence on nitrate losses. Row crops leak substantially greater amounts of nitrate compared with perennial crops; however, satisfactory economic return with many perennials is an obstacle at present. Improving N management by applying the correct rate of N at the optimum time and giving proper credits to previous legume crops and animal manure applications will also lead to reduced nitrate losses. Nitrate losses have been shown to be minimally affected by tillage systems compared with N management practices. Scientists and policymakers must understand these factors as they develop educational materials and environmental guidelines for reducing nitrate losses to surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Nitrate nitrogen in surface waters as influenced by climatic conditions and agricultural practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this