Effects of combinations of land use history and nitrogen application on nitrate concentration in the groundwater

M.P.W. Sonneveld, J. Bouma

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Abstract

Effects of differences in both land use history and levels of nitrogen (N) application on nitrate concentration in the groundwater were studied for permanent pastures located on a single soil series in the Frisian Woodlands in the north of the Netherlands. The study was carried out for three fields: A, B and C. Field A was an old pasture, field B was a reseeded pasture and field C had been previously used for growing silage maize. The models SWAP and ANIMO were used for long-term simulations of the soil organic matter and soil N dynamics. The soil data from fields A, B and C were combined with different N application levels derived from commercial dairy farms on the same soil series for 2000. Soil organic matter and soil organic N were lower in field C than in fields A and B. In field C also the probability of exceeding the environmental threshold for nitrate in groundwater of 50 mg l–1 was lowest, which was ascribed to net immobilization irrespective of the high levels of N applied. However, this probability increased rapidly when the soil properties were similar to those of the old pasture (field A). Simulated levels of N uptake were higher for field A than for fields B and C at all levels of N applied. On old pasture, reducing N application levels can lower the probability of exceeding the environmental threshold for nitrate by up to 20% whilst hardly affecting N uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Volume51
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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Keywords

  • land use
  • nitrates
  • leaching
  • groundwater pollution
  • grasslands
  • simulation models
  • netherlands
  • fertilizer application
  • friesland
  • organic-matter
  • grassland
  • pasture
  • swards

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