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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303548

Title: Nitrogen loss associated with wind erosion of agricultural lands in the Columbia Plateau, USA

item Sharratt, Brenton
item GRAVES, LAUREL - Washington State University
item PRESSLEY, SHELLEY - Washington State University

Submitted to: Agricultural Research International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2014
Publication Date: 7/25/2014
Citation: Sharratt, B.S., Graves, L., Pressley, S. 2014. Nitrogen loss associated with wind erosion of agricultural lands in the Columbia Plateau, USA. Agricultural Research International Conference Proceedings. CD-ROM P.1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion causes environmental degradation as a result of suspension of dust in the atmosphere and deposition of sediment in surface water systems. For example, windblown dust is a concern in the Columbia Plateau region of the Pacific Northwest USA because airborne particulates contribute to exceedance of PM10 (particulate matter less than or equal to 10 µm in diameter) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Wind erosion can also deplete the soil resource of nitrogen (N), an essential nutrient to crops and of economic importance to farmers. Creep and saltation/suspension samplers were deployed at various heights to collect sediments eroding from agricultural fields during 1999 to 2012. The fields were in the summer fallow phase of a winter wheat - summer fallow rotation. The sediments were analyzed for N by dry combustion using a LECO TruSpec Analyzer. The windblown sediment contained about 0.08% N of which 0.003% was each NO3 and NH3. Nitrogen content varied little with height above the eroding surface. The uniformity in N content of airborne sediment is likely due to little variation in the geometric mean diameter of sediment with height. Nutrient loss was found to approach 2 kg N ha-1 during singular high wind events. Although this loss of N represents <5% of that applied for crop production in the region, this loss represents 25% of that contained in the near surface layer.