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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 2, p. 265-271
    Received: Feb 2, 1976
    Accepted: Nov 15, 1976

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Modeling Nitrate Movement and Dissipation in Fertilized Soils1

  1. K. E. Saxton,
  2. G. E. Schuman and
  3. R. E. Burwell2



It is important to know the fate of nitrogen (N) fertilizers to ensure crop production and avoid pollution, but frequent measurement of soil N is difficult. Therefore, we developed a digital model to calculate the occurrence, movement, and dissipation of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) within the soil profile of fertilized agricultural lands. Daily NO3-N amounts and distributions within a 1.8-m soil profile were calculated by representing the major processes influencing NO3-N for the entire year. Daily soil moisture amounts and movement were predicted by a previously developed soil moisture-evapotranspiration model.

Profiles of NO3-N measured periodically on two research watersheds in western Iowa, one normally fertilized (168 kg/ha per year) and the other excessively fertilized (448 kg/ha per year) with N were used for model verification. The daily calculations for the fertilized cornfields (Zea mays L.) with moderately permeable soils included NO3-N movement, dissipation, and profile leaching. The predicted NO3-N profiles closely represented those measured.

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