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 Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

nachricht Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research

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: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>