▶Watch: Optimizing nitrogen use and reducing nitrate leaching

How do we optimize the use of commercial nitrogen and reduce nitrate leaching? Guolong Liang, agriculture water quality outreach specialist, and Monica Schauer, research director for NOPP, discuss the importance of nitrogen optimization and the strategies to reduce nitrate leaching. Learn about how agronomic results and water quality impacts connect with lessons from an on-farm trial from the Nitrogen Optimization Pilot Program (NOPP) from 2023.

A cost-effective approach for on-farm tile monitoring

Because nitrate is negatively charged, it does not bind with negatively charged soil and readily moves with water. Typically nitrate losses are more prevalent in subsurface water like tile drainage, while high phosphorus and sediment losses are associated with surface waters. Although we do have highly accurate ways to measure tile drainage water quality, such as 24/7 automated flow samplers, this approach is typically not economically or logistically feasible for individuals looking to monitor tile drainage on their own farm.

How much nitrogen is in your irrigation water?

In this article, we will discuss the presence of nitrate in irrigation water and opportunities to budget nitrogen in irrigation, to make farms more efficient in using nitrogen and reduce over-fertilization which in turn will protect groundwater.

Weighing the impacts of tile drains on nutrient losses

The use of tile drainage is becoming more popular in Wisconsin. Installing a tile drain system can be a great tool to dry soil out faster, improving the timeliness of field operations throughout the cropping season. However, how do tile systems influence water movement off of the field, and what are the water quality implications?

Communicate more effectively with farmers about adopting practices to protect water quality based on these new social science research strategies

Professionals working with farmers to increase the adoption of water quality practices will benefit from insights provided by new social science research. Placing management recommendations into a social, psychological and economic context can help professionals customize communication to farmers to address their barriers and motivations to adopting practices.

Cover Crops and Nitrate Leaching

Nitrate loads to groundwater have increased statewide, with studies estimating that over 10% of private wells in Wisconsin exceed the health standard of 10 mg/L. Researchers are looking at cover crops as part of a solution.

A simple approach for on-farm Nitrogen budgeting

The fate of N is highly affected by on-farm factors such as cropping system, management practices, soil type and hydrology, as well as external factors such as weather conditions. There are many pathways for N loss from a cropping system including:

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