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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Nutrient leaching driven by rainfall on a vermiculite clay soil under altered management and monitored with high-frequency time resolution

Ulen, Barbro


Nutrient leaching from clay soils can show extreme temporal and spatial variation. Using an optical sensor (hourly data storage), a Swedish field with vermiculite clay was monitored for water flow (Qexpressed in mm), turbidity values (TURB), and nitrate-nitrogen concentrations (CNO3N, mg L-1) in four hydrological years representing different cropping/soil management regimes. Mean TURB-Q slope (1300) decreased in the order: ploughed soil > winter wheat > unfertilized fallow > winter wheat after drainage system renovation + structure-liming of topsoil and backfill, estimated in the initial phase from 16 selected autumn events. A similar ranking was found for variability in turbidity relative to that in discharge (CVT/CVQ) in the entire autumn. Mean CNO3N-Q slope (=2) was significantly lower under fallow than in the three cropping systems (7-32), confirming results from adjacent experimental plots. A spring-period had no snow cover or intensive rain, butin situmonitoring revealed that nutrient leaching was still substantial. Particulate- and dissolved reactive phosphorus, and nitrate-nitrogen leaching was estimated reasonably well (less than 8% difference) based onin situhigh-frequency resolution measurements, compared with laboratory analysis of weekly composite samples. Accurate assessment ofC-Qrelationships in agricultural drainage water across temporal and spatial scales is therefore important.


C-Qslope; DRP; drainage system; hysteresis; NO3N; turbidity

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil and Plant Science
2020, volume: 70, number: 5, pages: 392-403

Authors' information

Ulen, Barbro
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers


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