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Seasonal changes in flow and nitrate-N loss from subsurface drains

Bjorneberg, D.L. and Kanwar, R.S. and Melvin, S.W. (1996) Seasonal changes in flow and nitrate-N loss from subsurface drains. Transactions of the ASAE. 39(3):961-976.

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Subsurface drainage from thirty-six, 0.4-ha plots was monitored for three years (1990 to 1992) from chisel
plow, moldboard plow, ridge till, and no-till systems with continuous corn and corn-soybean rotations. Data were
analyzed in four seasonal stages to determine variations in drain flows and nitrate-N contents in drain effluent. The
hypothesis of this study was that differences among tillage systems would change during the monitoring season as rainfall
patterns varied and as plots were fertilized and cultivated.
Forty-five to 85% of the annual nitrate-N loss through subsurface drainage occurred in the spring and fall when crops
were not actively growing. These losses, however, were not significantly different among tillage systems. Relative changes
in drain flows and nitrate-N concentrations before and after summer cultivation were similar among the four tillage
systems even though no-till and ridge till systems were undisturbed before this time. Nitrate-N losses or concentrations
did not increase during the stage following fertilizer application.
No-till plots had significantly higher subsurface drain flow than moldboard plow plots only under continuous corn,
possibly an effect of reduced yields from long-term no-till continuous corn. Nitrate-N concentrations in drain effluent
from moldboard and chisel plow systems, however, were significantly greater than concentrations from no-till and ridge
till systems for all crop rotations. Lower nitrate-N concentrations from no-till and ridge till systems may have resulted
from greater bypass flow, denitrification, and immobilization under nonplowed systems.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0909
Subjects: Mass Import - unclassified
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:54
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2016 22:48
Item ID: 663