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Long-term Monitoring of Nitrate-n Transport to Drainage from Three Agricultural Clayey Till Fields : Volume 12, Issue 1 (15/01/2015)

By Ernstsen, V.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012399
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 32
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Long-term Monitoring of Nitrate-n Transport to Drainage from Three Agricultural Clayey Till Fields : Volume 12, Issue 1 (15/01/2015)  
Author: Ernstsen, V.
Volume: Vol. 12, Issue 1
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Olsen, P., Rosenbom, A. E., & Ernstsen, V. (2015). Long-term Monitoring of Nitrate-n Transport to Drainage from Three Agricultural Clayey Till Fields : Volume 12, Issue 1 (15/01/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark. The application of nitrogen (N) fertilisers to crops grown on tile-drained fields is necessary to sustain most modern crop production, but poses a risk to the aquatic environment since tile drains facilitate rapid transport pathways with no significant reduction in nitrate. To maintain the water quality of the aquatic environment and the provision of food from highly efficient agriculture in line with the EU's Water Framework Directive and Nitrates Directive, field-scale knowledge is imperative if there is to be differentiated N-regulation in future. This study describes nitrate-N leaching to drainage based on coherent monitoring of nitrate-N concentrations, the climate, the groundwater table and crop-specific parameters obtained over eleven years (2001–2011) at three subsurface-drained clayey till fields (1.3–2.3 ha). The monitoring results showed significant field differences in nitrate-N transport to drainage. Not only were these caused by periods of bare soil after short-season crops and N-fixing crops (pea), which have been shown to generate high nitrate-N concentrations in drainage, but by the hydrogeological field conditions that were shown to be the controlling factor of nitrate-N transport to drainage. The fields had the following characteristics: (A) the lowest mass transport (13 kg N ha−1) and fertiliser input had short-term and low-intensity drainage with the highest nitrate-N concentrations detected, representing 40% of net precipitation (226 mm) combined with low air temperatures, (B) the medium mass transport (14 kg N ha−1) had medium-term and medium-intensity drainage, representing 42% of net precipitation (471 mm) combined with periods of both low and higher air temperatures, (C) the highest mass transport (19 kg N ha−1) had long-term drainage, representing 68% of net precipitation (617 mm), but had the highest potential for in-situ soil denitrification and post-treatment (e.g. constructed wetlands) due to long periods with both high water saturation in the soil and high air temperatures. These results show that local hydrogeological conditions need to be taken into account in a differentiated N-regulation of agricultural fields in future.

Long-term monitoring of nitrate-N transport to drainage from three agricultural clayey till fields

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