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Title: Nitrate Leaching from Continuous Corn, Perennial Grasses, and Poplar in the US Midwest

Abstract

Leaching from annual corn (Zea mays L.) crops is a primary source of nitrate (NO3-) pollution of ground and surface waters. Here, we compare NO3- losses from no-till corn with losses from various alternative perennial cropping systems (switchgrass [Panicum virgatum L.], miscanthus [Miscanthus ×giganteus J.M. Greef & Deuter ex Hodkinson & Renvoiz], a native grass mixture, and restored prairie), as well as hybrid poplar (Populus nigra L. × P. maximowiczii A. Henry ‘NM6’), all grown on a well-drained soil in Michigan. Soil water was sampled from below the root zone using suction cup samplers during nonfrozen periods (March–November) between 2009 and 2016. Leaching was estimated from NO3- concentrations in soil water and modeled drainage (percolation) rates. Drainage rates were not significantly different among crops, constituting ~30% of total annual precipitation. Aboveground net primary production (Mg ha-1 yr-1) averaged across the 7 yr was highest in poplar (30.8 ± 1.9 [SE]) followed by miscanthus (23.9 ± 2.4) and corn (20.4 ± 0.9). Volume-weighted mean NO3- concentrations (mg N L-1) and NO3- leaching (kg ha-1 yr-1) averaged across the 7 yr were 9.2 and 34.1, 2.3 and 5.9, and 3.0 and 7.2, respectively, for corn, perennial grasses and poplar. Approximately 10 tomore » 32% of applied N was lost as NO3- from these crops, with the highest percent losses from poplar (32%) followed by corn (20%). Perennial cropping systems leached considerably more NO3- in first few years after planting, but over 7 yr they lost much less NO3- than corn. Perennial crops may therefore help ameliorate NO3- pollution in agricultural landscapes even if they receive modest N fertilization.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [3]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  2. Central Soil Salinity Research Inst., Karnal (India)
  3. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States); Cary Inst. of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1579349
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0018409; FC02- 07ER64494
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Environmental Quality
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 48; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 0047-2425
Publisher:
American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Hussain, Mir Zaman, Bhardwaj, Ajay K., Basso, Bruno, Robertson, G. Philip, and Hamilton, Stephen K. Nitrate Leaching from Continuous Corn, Perennial Grasses, and Poplar in the US Midwest. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2134/jeq2019.04.0156.
Hussain, Mir Zaman, Bhardwaj, Ajay K., Basso, Bruno, Robertson, G. Philip, & Hamilton, Stephen K. Nitrate Leaching from Continuous Corn, Perennial Grasses, and Poplar in the US Midwest. United States. doi:10.2134/jeq2019.04.0156.
Hussain, Mir Zaman, Bhardwaj, Ajay K., Basso, Bruno, Robertson, G. Philip, and Hamilton, Stephen K. Thu . "Nitrate Leaching from Continuous Corn, Perennial Grasses, and Poplar in the US Midwest". United States. doi:10.2134/jeq2019.04.0156. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1579349.
@article{osti_1579349,
title = {Nitrate Leaching from Continuous Corn, Perennial Grasses, and Poplar in the US Midwest},
author = {Hussain, Mir Zaman and Bhardwaj, Ajay K. and Basso, Bruno and Robertson, G. Philip and Hamilton, Stephen K.},
abstractNote = {Leaching from annual corn (Zea mays L.) crops is a primary source of nitrate (NO3-) pollution of ground and surface waters. Here, we compare NO3- losses from no-till corn with losses from various alternative perennial cropping systems (switchgrass [Panicum virgatum L.], miscanthus [Miscanthus ×giganteus J.M. Greef & Deuter ex Hodkinson & Renvoiz], a native grass mixture, and restored prairie), as well as hybrid poplar (Populus nigra L. × P. maximowiczii A. Henry ‘NM6’), all grown on a well-drained soil in Michigan. Soil water was sampled from below the root zone using suction cup samplers during nonfrozen periods (March–November) between 2009 and 2016. Leaching was estimated from NO3- concentrations in soil water and modeled drainage (percolation) rates. Drainage rates were not significantly different among crops, constituting ~30% of total annual precipitation. Aboveground net primary production (Mg ha-1 yr-1) averaged across the 7 yr was highest in poplar (30.8 ± 1.9 [SE]) followed by miscanthus (23.9 ± 2.4) and corn (20.4 ± 0.9). Volume-weighted mean NO3- concentrations (mg N L-1) and NO3- leaching (kg ha-1 yr-1) averaged across the 7 yr were 9.2 and 34.1, 2.3 and 5.9, and 3.0 and 7.2, respectively, for corn, perennial grasses and poplar. Approximately 10 to 32% of applied N was lost as NO3- from these crops, with the highest percent losses from poplar (32%) followed by corn (20%). Perennial cropping systems leached considerably more NO3- in first few years after planting, but over 7 yr they lost much less NO3- than corn. Perennial crops may therefore help ameliorate NO3- pollution in agricultural landscapes even if they receive modest N fertilization.},
doi = {10.2134/jeq2019.04.0156},
journal = {Journal of Environmental Quality},
number = 6,
volume = 48,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}

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