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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-6-SOIL & WATER MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

Simulation of Nitrate-Nitrogen Dynamics for Cropping Systems with Different Rooting Depths


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 3, p. 1050-1054

    * Corresponding author(s): jdelgado@lamar.colostate.edu
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  1. Jorge A. Delgado *a,
  2. Ronald F. Folletta and
  3. Marvin J. Shafferb
  1. a USDA-ARS, Soil Plant Nutrient Research Unit, Federal Bldg., P.O. Box E, 301 S. Howes, Fort Collins, CO 80522 USA
    b USDA-ARS, Great Plains Systems Research, Fort Collins, CO 80522 USA


Most agricultural systems in the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado include rotations that have crops with different rooting depths. The previous version of Nitrate Leaching and Economic Analysis Package (NLEAP), 1.10, was only capable of simulating the effect of management practices on the rooting zone of each crop to the nearest 0.30-m increment. Therefore, a new version of NLEAP was needed to simulate the effect of best management practices (BMPs) on residual soil NO 3–N (RSN) for the root zone of each crop grown in the region and for a similar soil depth for these systems (e.g., 0–0.91 m). The improved NLEAP version 1.20 simulates maximum rooting depth to the nearest 0.03 m and RSN in multiple soil depths. These new features allowed us to simulate the effect of BMPs on RSN for the root zones of shallower-rooted crops such as lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) (0–0.37 m), potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) (0–0.40 m), and deeper-rooted crops such as small grains (0–0.61 to 0–0.84 m). NLEAP simulated RSN for a soil depth identical for all of these cropping systems (0–0.91 m) (P < 0.001). This new version can be used by extension agents, farmers, consultants, and others to evaluate the effect of BMPs on soil NO 3–N dynamics for different rooting zones and for similar soil depths in the agricultural system, a capability that was not available with the previous version of NLEAP.

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