Nutrient loss pathways from grazed grasslands and the effects of decreasing inputs: experimental results for three soil types

C.L. Beek, C. van der Salm, A. Plette, H. van de Weerd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agriculture is a main contributor of diffuse emissions of N and P to the environment. For N the main loss pathways are NH3-volatilization, leaching to ground and surface water and N-2(O) emissions. Currently, imposing restraints on farm inputs are used as policy tool to decrease N and P leaching to ground water and to surface water, and the same measure is suggested to combat emissions of N2O. The response, however, to these measures largely depends on the soil type. In this study nutrient flows of three dairy farms in The Netherlands with comparable intensity on sand, peat and clay soils were monitored for at least 2 years. The first aim was to provide quantitative data on current nutrient loss pathways. The second aim was to explore the responses in partitioning of the nutrient loss pathways when farm inputs were altered. Mean denitrification rates ranged from 103 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) for the sandy soil to 170 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) for the peat soil and leaching to surface water was about 73 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) for the sandy soil, 15 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) for the clay soil and 38 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) for the peat soil. For P, leaching to surface water ranged from 2 kg P ha(-1) year(-1) for the sandy site to 5 kg P ha(-1) year(-1) for the peat site. The sandy soil was most responsive to changes in N surpluses on leaching to surface water, followed by the peat soil and least responsive was the clay soil. For P, a similar sequence was found. This article demonstrates that similar reductions of N and P inputs result in different responses in N and P loss pathways for different soil types. These differences should be taken into account when evaluating measures to improve environmental performance of (dairy) farms
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • surface-water
  • agricultural land
  • nitrogen
  • phosphorus
  • denitrification
  • netherlands
  • balances
  • ammonia
  • model
  • volatilization

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