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Nitrogen leaching and soil nitrate, and ammonium levels in an irrigated wheat system in northern Mexico

Author: Riley, W.J.
Author: Ortiz-Monasterio, I.
Author: Matson, P.A.
Year: 2001
ISSN: 1385-1314
Abstract: Nitrate leaching from agricultural soils can represent a substantial loss of fertilizer nitrogen (N), but a large variation in losses has been reported. We report N leaching losses under four N fertilizer treatments and two farmer's fields in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico. In these irrigated wheat systems, farmers typically apply 250 kg N ha−1 as anhydrous ammonia (knifed in) or urea(broadcast), with 75% applied directly before planting and 25% at the time of the first post-planting irrigation. Over two wheat seasons, we compared typical farmer's practices to alternatives that applied less N and more closely timed fertilizer application to plant demand. Field lysimeter measurements and predictions from a water transport simulation model (called NLOSS) were used to estimate the amount of N leached over the season. Approximately 5 and 2% of the applied N leached below the root zone with the typical farmer's practice in 1995?96 and 1997?98,respectively. The alternative treatments reduced N leaching losses by 60 to95% while producing comparable economic returns to the farmer. Leaching losses from the two farmer's fields were substantially higher (about 14and26% of the applied N). Our results indicate that the typical farmer's practice leads to relatively high N leaching losses, and that alternative practices synchronizing fertilizer application with crop demand can substantially reduce these losses.
Language: English
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Type: Article
Country: Mexico
Pages: 223-236
Journal issue: 3
Journal: Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Journal volume: 61
DOI: 10.1023/A:1013758116346
Keywords: Triticum
Keywords: Nitrogen
Keywords: Leaching
Keywords: Soil chemistry
Keywords: Ammonium nitrate
Keywords: Irrigation systems
Keywords: Mexico
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  • Genetic Resources
    Genetic Resources including germplasm collections, wild relatives, genotyping, genomics, and IP
  • Wheat
    Wheat - breeding, phytopathology, physiology, quality, biotech

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