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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383100

Research Project: Improving Water Use Efficiency and Water Quality in Irrigated Agricultural Systems

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Simulating soil nitrogen fate in irrigated crop production with mature applications

Author
item Koehn, Anita
item Bjorneberg, David - Dave
item Malone, Robert - Rob
item Leytem, April
item MOORE, AMBER - Oregon State University
item Ma, Liwang
item Bartling, Patricia

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/13/2021
Publication Date: 6/17/2021
Citation: Koehn, A.C., Bjorneberg, D.L., Malone, R.W., Leytem, A.B., Moore, A., Ma, L., Bartling, P.N. 2021. Simulating soil nitrogen fate in irrigated crop production with mature applications. Science of the Total Environment. 793. Article 148510. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148510.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148510

Interpretive Summary: We used the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) to provide information about the long-term implications of manure applications. First, RZWQM2 was calibrated and validated using 4 years of data from a long-term study with annual and biennial manure application rates of 18 Mg ha-1, 36 Mg ha-1, and 52 Mg ha-1, along with a control and conventional fertilizer treatment. The model was validated for crop yield, soil water content and soil nitrogen concentrations. The 4-yr crop rotation was spring wheat (2013), potato (2014), spring barley (2015), and sugar beets (2016). RZWQM2 simulated soil water content, crop yield, total soil nitrogen, and soil nitrogen mineralization effectively as PBIAS and RRMSE for soil water content and crop yields were within the acceptable range (± 25% for PBIAS and <1.0 for RRMSE). Nitrate in the soil profile, however, was overestimated. A 24-yr scenario demonstrated the recovery of soil N after manure applications had been terminated. RWQM2 simulations indicated that biennial manure applications result in less nitrogen seepage losses and high annual manure applications should be discouraged.

Technical Abstract: Dairy manure is commonly applied to irrigated agricultural crops in the Magic Valley Region of southern Idaho, which has reported to impact the quality of surface and ground water. In this study, we used the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) to provide information about the long-term implications of manure applications. RZWQM2 was first calibrated and validated using 4 years of data from a long-term study with annual and biennial manure application rates of 18 Mg ha-1, 36 Mg ha-1, and 52 Mg ha-1, along with a control and conventional fertilizer treatment for crop yield, soil water and soil N. The 4-yr crop rotation was spring wheat (2013), potato (2014), spring barley (2015), and sugar beets (2016). RZWQM2 simulated soil water content, crop yield, total soil nitrogen, and soil nitrogen mineralization effectively as PBIAS and RRMSE for soil water content and crop yields were within the acceptable range (± 25% for PBIAS and <1.0 for RRMSE). Nitrate in the soil profile was overestimated, however in the acceptable range for the validation treatments. The calibrated model was then run for 16 years by repeating the management practices of the 4-year scenarios (4 crop rotations) for all treatments and 24 years for the 52 T Annual treatment (6 crop rotations). The 16-year simulation results showed that nitrogen seepage from annual manure treatments (for example, 18 T Annual vs 18 T Biennial) was 2.0 to 2.3 times higher than the nitrogen seepage from the biennial manure treatments. Increasing manure applications from 18 T Annual to 52 T Annual increased N seepage an average of 3.2 times for the 16-year rotation. Nitrogen seepage increased dramatically in rotations 3 and 4 compared to rotations 1 and 2 in the sixteen-year simulation. The 24-year simulation results showed after manure had been applied annually for 16 years and then applications terminated, the amount of N seepage returned initial levels in 8 years. In conclusion, to maintain clean ground water, manure applications would be best applied biennially and high applications should be discouraged.