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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Drainage Control to Diminish Nitrate Loss from Agricultural Fields1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 8 No. 1, p. 137-142
    Received: May 10, 1978

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  1. J. W. Gilliam,
  2. R. W. Skaggs and
  3. S. B. Weed2



In an attempt to reduce NO3-N movement to drainage waters, flashboard riser-type water level control structures were installed in tile mains or outlet ditches at two locations to raise the water table to increase denitrification during the winter. A large reduction in NO3-N movement through tile lines occurred (from 25–40 to 1–7 kg/ha) in moderately well-drained soils because of reduction in effluent volume. In the moderately well-drained soils, there was no indication of increased denitrification in the field. In poorly drained soils, drainage control had no influence upon soil profile oxidation-reduction potentials but resulted in approximately.a 50% reduction in NO3 movement through drainage ditches. This reduction was due to increased water movement into and through deeper soil horizons (below 1 m). The NO3-N concentrations and low Eh values in all profiles below 1 m indicate that the NO3 which moved to this depth underwent denitrification.

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