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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Surface Runoff and Sediment from a Wheat-Pea Rotation in Northeastern Oregon


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 5, p. 1170-1177
    Received: Oct 23, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): clyde.douglas@orst.edu
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  1. C. L. Douglas Jr. *,
  2. K. A. King and
  3. J. F. Zuzel
  1. U SDA-ARS, P.O. Box 370, Pendleton, OR 97801,
    C ity of Pendleton, Pendleton, OR;
    U SDA-ARS, Pendleton, OR.



Runoff and erosion from cultivated fields are suggested as major sources of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) entering lakes and streams. Loss of these nutrients can be impacted by soil and crop management practices. There is relatively little information on nutrients leaving agricultural fields in the dryland areas of the Pacific Northwest, especially as impacted by different crops and crop rotations. Nutrients in surface runoff and soil leaving a series of plots in northeast Oregon were evaluated for 5 yr. Objectives were to evaluate the effects of a wheat-pea (Triticum aestivium L.-Pisum sativum L.) rotation on N and P in surface runoff and eroded soil. Cumulative N and P lost in runoff were less than 3 and 0.2 kg ha−1, respectively. Total N lost from continuous fallow (CF) plots, even though they were never fertilized, ranged from 20 to 100 kg ha−1 yr−1. This was much more N than was lost from winter wheal (WW) (5–70 kg ha−1 yr−1) and spring pea (SP) (25–40 kg h−1 yr−1), because there was much more sediment loss from CF than from WW or SP plots. The same scenario occurred with P as with N, with loss from CF of 8 to 48 kg ha−1 yr−1, WW of 2 to 28 kg ha−1 yr−1, and from SP of 8 to 16 kg ha−1 yr−1. All fertilizer was surface-applied and 25 to 76% of the fertilizer applied was lost in 5 yr, depending on the time of fertilizer application and the type of crop growing. Nutrient loss from these fields can be controlled by controlling soil erosion.

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