Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Forecasting the Fate of Fertilizer in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Reducing the runoff from plant nutrients that can eventually wash into the Chesapeake Bay could someday be as easy as checking the weather forecast, thanks in part to work by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

One way farmers manage manure from their livestock is by applying it to crop fields, which increases soil levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. But when it rains, the nitrogen and phosphorus in freshly applied manure is much more likely to run off and pollute nearby water sources, which can end up degrading water quality throughout the watershed.

Hydrologist Tony Buda and soil scientist Peter Kleinman with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are contributing to the development of a Web-based “fertilizer forecast.” The scientists want to create a tool that produces 24-hour and 5-day runoff forecasts that are as user-friendly as weather forecasts.

The scientists are based at the ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in University Park, Pa. ARS is USDA’s primary intramural scientific research agency.

The researchers are using National Weather Service (NWS) predictions of precipitation, soil moisture, and other data to design a simple hydrologic model that indicates the probability of field runoff occurrence. As part of this work, they are analyzing how runoff measurements in different Pennsylvania regions correlate with different NWS data sets for the same areas.

For instance, the scientists have found that soil moisture forecasts are a strong indicator of nutrient runoff potential in fields underlain by fragipans, which are dense subsurface soil layers that can block water movement through soil. But at sites with other soil characteristics, runoff potential is much more strongly associated with other variables, such as forecasts of rainfall amounts.

The team hopes that when their “forecast” is ready, it will give farmers a user-friendly tool that can be used to optimize fertilizer runoff management and enhance water quality.

Read more about this work and other research in University Park to protect the Chesapeake Bay in the August 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Ann Perry | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>