Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alternative Cropping Systems to Improve the Quality of Shallow Groundwater

Authors
item Kanwar, R - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Cruse, R - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Ghaffarzadeh, M - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Pecinovsky, K - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Karlen, Douglas
item Cambardella, Cynthia

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Alternative N management practices are needed to increase N uptake by plants and reduce the use of N-fertilizers in order to decrease NO3-N to groundwater. The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of two alternative cropping systems (a narrow-strip cropping configuration that included corn, soybean, and oats followed by a N-fixing berseem clover crop, and a three year rotation of alfalfa with corn in the fourth year) on the leaching of NO3-N to shallow groundwater. Experiments were conducted on 40, 0.4 ha field scale plots with three replications for each treatment. Each plot was drained with a single tile line that was intercepted for water quality monitoring. Four years of data (1993 to 1996) on water quality from this study indicate that the strip cropping and alfalfa treatments resulted in the lowest NO3-N concentrations in the tile water compared with all other practices evaluated at this site. The overall four year average NO3-N concentrations in the tile water were 7.0 and 2.8 mg L**-1 for strip cropping and alfalfa plots, respectively. These results clearly indicate that forage crop rotated with corn and narrow-strip cropping systems can be used successfully to improve the quality of groundwater in comparison with the traditional corn-soybean production systems.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page