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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 2, p. 331-335
     
    Received: Aug 20, 1970
    Published: Mar, 1971


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doi:10.2136/sssaj1971.03615995003500020042x

Water-soluble NO3-Nitrogen, PO4-Phosphorus, and Total Salt Balances on a Large Irrigation Tract1

  1. D. L. Carter,
  2. J. A. Bondurant and
  3. C. W. Robbins2

Abstract

Abstract

Return flow from a 82,030-ha (202,700-acre) tract of calcareous silt loam soils irrigated with water diverted from the Snake River in southern Idaho increased the downstream total soluble salt and NO3-N loads, but decreased the downstream PO4-P load. Under the existing water management practice, 50% of the total input water returned to the Snake River as subsurface drainage. Net total soluble salt output was 2.4 metric tons/ha (1.0 English ton/acre) and, on the average, was considerably greater than necessary to maintain a salt balance. Net NO3-N output was 33 kg/ha (30 lb/acre). Only about 30% as much PO4-P left the tract via drainage water as entered the tract in irrigation water. As water passed through the soil, PO4-P was removed by chemical reactions in the soil, thus decreasing the concentration in the subsurface drainage water and decreasing the downstream PO4-P load. Applied P fertilizer was not leached into the drainage water.

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