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Simulated nitrogen leaching, nitrogen mass field balances and their correlation on four farms in south-western Finland during the period 2000-2005

Rankinen, Katri; Salo, Tapio; Granlund, Kirsti and Rita, Hannu (2007) Simulated nitrogen leaching, nitrogen mass field balances and their correlation on four farms in south-western Finland during the period 2000-2005. Agricultural and Food Science, 16 (4), pp. 387-406.

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Document available online at: http://www.mtt.fi/afs/pdf/mtt-afs-v16n4p387.pdf


Nitrogen (N) gross balance is one of the indicators designed for following developments in agriculture in the European Union. A nutrient surplus occurs when the quantity of a nutrient applied in fertilizers is greater than that removed during harvest. In this study the usefulness of N balance in studying the fate of N and controlling N leaching from agricultural fields in south-western Finland was evaluated. To estimate N leaching in 2000–2005 the mathematical, process-based model COUP was applied to twelve fields representing four agricultural production sectors. The fields represented conventional cereal production, organic cereal production and both conventional cattle and pig husbandry. Simulated N leaching was lowest from cereal production fields with a low N balance. Higher N leaching from pig and cattle production farms might be reduced by decreasing the N balance but also by applying manure in spring instead of autumn. Both N balance and simulated N leaching from organic farm were relatively high compared to low N application rate to the fields. N balance appears to be a rather useful indicator of N leaching over longer periods of time. In the short term, N leaching depends mainly on precipitation and on cultivation practices, like timing and amount of fertilizer application. Statistical evaluation indicated significant positive correlation between calculated N balance and simulated N leaching, especially when supported by constant values of precipitation and N mineralization rate. Decrease of N balance by 1 kg ha–1yr–1 decreased N leaching by 0.3 kg ha–1yr–1. High positive N balances are conducive to abundant accumulation of residual N in soil and consequently to a high risk of N leaching during rainy seasons.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:agricultural production sectors, nitrogen balance, nitrogen leaching, process-based modelling, analysis of covariate
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Finland
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:16899
Deposited On:24 Mar 2010 10:36
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:43
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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