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Title: Advances in nitrogen management for water quality

item Delgado, Jorge

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2010
Publication Date: 12/10/2010
Citation: Delgado, J.A., Follett, R.F. (eds) 2010. Advances in nitrogen management for water quality. Soil and Water Conservation Society. pp. 1-424.

Interpretive Summary: Various management practices, tools, and principles are discussed in this book, many of which have wide applicability. For example, the application of new concepts such as Precision Conservation (also called target conservation), and how it can improve nitrogen management in terms of conservation, is discussed. The advances covered in this book can contribute to management improvements and forward conservation goals such as the preservation of water quality. This book is the outcome of cooperation between many different institutions and individuals, including USDA federal agencies such as ARS and NRCS, universities, international organizations, consultants, and others who have offered their contributions in the efforts to maximize crop yields and economic returns while conserving the environment through the development of viable practices, concepts and tools.

Technical Abstract: The creation of this book was inspired by collaborative discussions with some of the individuals who presented at the 7th annual symposium that was jointly held by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) in 2006. These individuals were asked to work together on a volume that would bring together the diverse and specialized knowledge within the field of nitrogen management. This book discusses new advances in nitrogen management, including tools such as the Nitrogen Index, the Nitrogen Trading Tool, and remote sensing, and new concepts such as Precision Conservation. Nitrogen is used throughout the world to fertilize cropping systems. It increases the productivity as well as the practicability of agricultural systems, making it important for food security. Though this nutrient is very beneficial to society, the application of nitrogen fertilizer also increases the risk of reactive nitrogen losses to the environment. The literature has reported average nitrogen use efficiencies (NUE) as approximately 50% or less of the applied fertilizer, with some of the newest literature reports providing a much lower average of approximately 40% uptake by the crop, 30% remaining in the soil, and 30% lost from the cropping system. Reducing nitrate leaching to the environment and nitrogen losses via other pathways together with other conservation goals necessitate finding and applying methods to increase NUE. The 15 chapters of this book address highly important and diverse subjects, as suggested by their titles: Environmental and Human Impacts of Reactive Nitrogen (Ch. 1); Water Management – A Key to Reducing Nitrogen Losses (Ch. 2); Nitrogen and Drainage Management to Reduce Nitrate Losses to Subsurface Drainage (Ch. 3); Integrated Nitrogen Management (Ch. 4); Nitrogen Budgets for Agricultural Policy and Farm Management (Ch. 5); Organic Nitrogen Systems in the United States (Ch. 6); Precision Farming for Nitrogen Management (Ch. 7); Nitrogen Sensors to Fine Tune the Nutrient Management Decision Making Process (Ch. 8); Using Cover Crops and Cropping Systems for Nitrogen Management (Ch. 9); Use of Buffers to Reduce Sediment and Nitrogen Transport to Surface Water Bodies (Ch. 10); Evaluation of Best Management Practices Across Regions of Argentina and Spain, (Ch. 11); Nutrient Credit Trading – a Market-based Approach for Improving Water Quality (Ch. 12); Simulation Processes for the Nitrogen Loss and Environmental Assessment Package (NLEAP) (Ch. 13); New Tools to Assess Nitrogen Management for Conservation of our Biosphere (Ch. 14); and A Tiered Approach to Nitrogen Management: A USDA Perspective (Ch.15). New approaches, practices and concepts that can contribute to higher nitrogen use efficiencies and conservation of the environment are presented.