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Estimated N leaching losses for organic and conventional farming in Denmark

Knudsen, Marie Trydeman; Kristensen, Ib Sillebak; Berntsen, Jørgen; Petersen, Bjørn Molt and Kristensen, Erik Steen (2006) Estimated N leaching losses for organic and conventional farming in Denmark. Journal of Agricultural Science, 144 (2), pp. 135-149.

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The impact of organic compared to conventional farming practices on N leaching loss was studied for Danish mixed dairy and arable farms using an N balance approach based on representative data. On mixed dairy farms a simple N balance method was used to estimate N surplus and N leaching loss. On arable farms the simple N balance method was unreliable due to changes in the soil N pool. Consequently, the FASSET simulation model was used to estimate N surplus, N leaching loss and the changes in the soil N pool.
The study found a lower N leaching loss from organic than conventional mixed dairy farms, primarily due to lower N inputs. On organic arable farms the soil N pool was increasing over years but the N leaching loss was comparable to conventional arable farms. The soil N pool was primarily increased by organic farming practices and incorporation of straw. The highest increase in the soil N pool was seen on soils with a low level of soil organic matter. The level of N leaching loss was dependent on soil type, the use of catch crops and the level of soil organic matter, whereas incorporation of straw had a minor effect. N leaching was highest on sandy soils with a high level of soil organic matter and no catch crops. The study stresses the importance of using representative data of organic and conventional farming practices in comparative studies of N leaching loss.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:nitrogen, leaching, conventional, organic, agriculture
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Farming Systems
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > V.1 (SYNERGY) Coordination and synergy
Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > I. 3 (BIOMOD) Interaction between nitrogen dynamics, crop production and biodiversity
Deposited By: Knudsen, Researcher Marie Trydeman
ID Code:4637
Deposited On:30 Mar 2005
Last Modified:28 Apr 2013 17:59
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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