Transformation and transport of nitrogen forms in a sandy entisol following a heavy loading of ammonium nitrate solution: Field measurements and model simulations

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Soil and Sediment Contamination


Understanding the factors influencing water and nutrient transport through soil profile is important for the efficient management of nutrient and irrigation to minimize nutrient leaching below the rootzone. Transport of NO3-N and NH4-N was studied in a Candler fine sand following a heavy loading of a liquid fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate. Both NO3-N and NH4-N transported quite rapidly (within 3 d) and accumulated above the clay layer at about depth of 2.7 m. The concentrations of NH4-N and NO3-N approached background levels throughout the soil profile by 184 d. More than 50% of ammonium and nitrate contained in the spilled solution leached from the entire depth of soil profile sampled during the first 95 d. The cumulative amount of rainfall during this period was 329 mm, which accounted for 65% of the total rainfall for the entire study period. The concentrations of NH4-N and NO3-N at various depths within the entire soil profile reasonably predicted by the Leaching Estimation and Chemistry Model (LEACHM) and compared favorably with the measured concentrations, however, there are few places with high concentrations The cumulative amount of leachate at the bottom of the soil profile predicted by LEACHM represented 90% of total rainfall that occurred during the study period. This demonstrated a substantial potential for leaching of soluble nutrients through the sandy soil profile.

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