Nitrogen Leaching Project

Nitrogen is a critical nutrient for agricultural crops, however nitrate-N is also Wisconsin’s most widespread groundwater contaminant. Elevated concentrations in private water wells and public water supply systems pose major challenges for local governments and citizens. An estimated 90% of the total nitrate inputs into Wisconsin’s groundwater originate from agricultural sources. Quantification of nitrogen leaching losses is essential to provide improved management recommendations to minimize nitrate contamination of groundwater. This project will provide farmers with applicable information to address and reduce nitrate losses. 

Located in Pepin County on loamy sand soils, eight lysimeters are installed on a field in a corn, soy rotation. The field is separated into two sections where a control and treatment area will be studied. Four lysimeters are placed in a plot that will be conventionally managed and four lysimeters are placed in a treatment plot that will incorporate a conservation practice. This multi-year study will get an in depth comparison of the ability of a conservation practice to mitigate nitrate leaching to groundwater.