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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 6, p. 1864-1870
    Received: Oct 6, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): schreibe@sedlab.olemiss.edu
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Nutrient Leaching from Corn Residues under Simulated Rainfall

  1. J. D. Schreiber *
  1. USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Lab., Oxford, MS 38655.



Crop residues left on the soil surface after harvest are effective in reducing erosion; however, when subjected to rainfall-leaching, the residues are a significant source of soluble nutrients to agricultural runoff. Nutrient leaching from crop residues as a function of rainfall intensity, and residue loading rate, was studied in a series of laboratory experiments under controlled conditions. Using a multiple-intensity rainfall simulator corn (Zea mays L.) stover placed on a nylon screen at an equivalent field loading rate of 10 t ha−1, was subjected to simulated rainfall at intensities of 6, 12, 25, 51, and 99 mm h−1. In another series of experiments, simulated rainfall was applied at 25 mm h−1 to four stover loading rates of 5, 7, 10, and 15 t ha−1. In both experiments, leachate was sampled as a function of time and analyzed for PO4-P, NH4-N, NO3-N, and total organic carbon (TOC). Nutrient concentrations and losses were generally greater at the lower rainfall intensities and higher stover loading rates. In each study, nutrient concentrations decreased hyperbolically with either time or cumulative leachate volume. For all loading rates and rainfall intensities, nutrient amounts (kg ha−1) leached from the stover followed the order C ≫N = P; however, the amounts of N as (NH4-N + NO3-N) or C leached were ≤1.5% of total nutrient in residue compared with 2.8 to 6.0% of total nutrient in residue for P. Stover exposed to field conditions over time showed leaching kinetics similar to freshly collected residues.

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