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Probabilistic Assessment of the Potential for Winter Cereal Rye to Reduce Field Nitrate-Nitrogen Loss in Southwestern Minnesota

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032323,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14983) @2003
Authors:   G. W. Feyereisen, A. Mendez, G. R. Sands, B. N. Wilson, P. M. Porter, J. S. Strock
Keywords:   Nitrate nitrogen, cover crop, drainage, nitrate scavenging, rye

Field research at a location in southwestern Minnesota indicates that a cereal rye crop, planted in autumn after harvest of a previous corn crop, can reduce nitrate nitrogen leaching to artificial subsurface drainage effluent by 50% when climatic conditions facilitate establishment, growth and subsequent nitrogen uptake of the rye cover crop. The objectives of the research proposed in this paper are:

(i) To investigate the impact of fall planting date and climate on rye biomass yield, rye N uptake, and residual soil nitrogen.

(ii) To assess the probability that a fall-planted cereal rye will reduce nitrate-N loss through the artificial drainage system in southern Minnesota after corn or soybean,

(iii) To develop a methodology for analysis that can be used to estimate the impacts of winter cover crops on water quality in neighboring locations in the Northern Corn Belt.

A crop and drainage modeling approach is proposed. The advantages and disadvantages of model complexity, and of using existing software versus developing or modifying software are briefly discussed.

The anticipated outcome of the work is to clarify the usefulness of this technique in reducing nitrate nitrogen export via the subsurface drain system in southern Minnesota. The outcome can help determine the priorities of future research to reduce field nitrogen losses. The analysis methodology developed for this study would be useful for other locations in the Northern Corn Belt.