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Minimising total losses of nitrogen from agriculture (Previously NT0104) - NT1901

This study will aim to provide information on how nitrate leaching from agriculture might be reduced to enable compliance with the 1980 EC Drinking Water Quality Directive and with the 1991 EC Nitrate Directive. The project will also aim to evaluate the contribution of agriculture to nutrient inputs into the North Sea, and will endeavour to encourage environmentally sound methods of farming and minimise other environmental nutrient outputs from agriculture, especially P. The study will be composed of the following objectives: 1. To improve understanding of nutrient cycling in agricultural soils and to assess effectiveness of selected agricultural practices in affecting the cycle at a whole farm and catchment level; 2. To develop models regarding the supply and cycling of N and P; 3. To provide advice on the safe and effective use of chemical and organic fertilizers in UK agriculture; and 4. To establish rates of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions from cultivated and fertilised soils to provide a better understanding of the N cycle. An inventory of greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from agriculture will also be established in conjunction with work in the Climate Change programme and Farm Wastes programme. The project will involve measurement of total losses of N and crop uptake at 2 sites (Broadbalk and Brimstone) and will compare these losses with N inputs via precipitation, gases and particulates in order to calculate N budgets. Major processes contributing to N loss will be identified, together with their causes, and practices which aim to minimise N losses will be identified. Results of the research will support policy decisions limiting certain agricultural practices.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £318,063
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Fields of Study
Fertilisers and Nitrate Pollution