Impact of Alternative Farm Management Practices on Nitrogen Pollution of Groundwater: Evaluation and Application of CENTURY Model
- Emmanuel K. Yiridoe *,
- R. Paul Voroney and
- Alfons Weersink
- D epartment of Agricultural Economics and Business, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada;
L and Resource Science Department, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada;
D epartment of Agricultural Economics and Business, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.
An important environmental issue for Canadian agriculture is groundwater-N pollution. Addressing this issue requires understanding the impact of farm management practices on nitrate leaching, but empirical studies are limited by resource and time constraints. The CENTURY model was adapted to southwestern Ontario agricultural conditions and then used to predict short- to medium-term effects of crop choice and crop rotation pattern, fertilizer management, and tillage practice on N leaching. CENTURY model evaluation suggests that aboveground C production (translated into grain yield) and N leaching predicted by CENTURY provide good representation of results from actual field-measured data. Results suggest that relative reduction in groundwater-N leached is markedly greater at higher rates of fertilizer application than at lower (below the maximum economic rate of N fertilization) rates. Although tillage may not dramatically affect N leaching, other farm management practices such as crop type and crop rotation choice, along with the carry-over effects of these management activities on mineralization of soil organic matter, may have a significant effect on N leaching from the root zone.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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