Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research suggests a new method to protect groundwater quality

09.05.2003


Farmers can prioritize areas within fields to reduce nitrate contamination



Fine-tuning fertilizer and irrigation management requires farmers to carefully balance optimizing yield and protecting groundwater quality. Some states even require farmers to use crop production practices to minimize nitrate leaching to groundwater in environmentally sensitive areas.

One such practice is using a nitrification inhibitor when applying nitrogen fertilizer, which helps protect nitrogen from leaching below the root zone until the crop can use it. Farmers are often reluctant to use nitrification inhibitors since they add to the cost of production, and only increase yield or protect from nitrate loss with specific combinations of soil type and climate – such as a warm, wet spring and sandy soils.


Recent research in the central Platte river valley of Nebraska investigated a promising new option for producers growing irrigated corn in environmentally sensitive areas, according to Richard Ferguson, professor of agronomy, University of Nebraska.

The study, conducted from 1995-1998, explored ways to reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater. Results from the study are published in the May/June issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, published by the Soil Science Society of America. Co-authors are Murray Lark, Silsoe Research Institute, Great Britain; and Glen Slater, University of Nebraska.

Using information about soil properties obtained from grid soil sampling, along with maps of crop yield and soil electrical conductivity, these researchers developed management zones to direct the application of nitrification inhibitors.

In relatively dry-to-normal growing seasons, the use of a nitrification inhibitor had no effect on grain yield or nitrate leaching. However, in a growing season with a very wet spring, the use of a nitrification inhibitor increased yield. Patterns of higher and lower yield in the wet growing season corresponded closely to patterns of soil electrical conductivity.

According to Ferguson, producing soil electrical conductivity or yield maps is much easier and cheaper for producers than grid soil sampling.

"If we can develop an approach to allow farmers to prioritize areas within fields where nitrification inhibitors will be most beneficial, we believe that will encourage more farmers to use the practice. This approach could help protect groundwater quality while significantly reducing the cost and time required for the farmer," he says.

While it’s premature to say that maps of soil electrical conductivity or grain yield can be used to predict where nitrification inhibitors should be used, the researchers have seen enough similar results in other studies to warrant continued study.


Soil Science Society of America Journal (SSSAJ), http://www.scijournals.org is a peer-reviewed, international journal of soil science published six times a year by the Soil Science Society of America. SSSA Journal contains soil research relating to physics; chemistry; biology and biochemistry; fertility and plant nutrition; genesis, morphology, and classification; water management and conservation; forest and range soils; nutrient management and soil and plant analysis; mineralogy; and wetland soils.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) www.crops.org and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) www.soils.org are educational organizations helping their 10,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop and soil sciences by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.




Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scijournals.org
http://www.agronomy.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>