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Evaluation of the impact of various agricultural practices on nitrate leaching under the root zone of potato and sugar beet using the STICS soil–crop model

Jégo, Guillaume and Martinez, Miren and Antigüedad, Iñaki and Launay, Marie and Sanchez-Pérez, José Miguel and Justes, Eric Evaluation of the impact of various agricultural practices on nitrate leaching under the root zone of potato and sugar beet using the STICS soil–crop model. (2008) Science of the Total Environment, 394 (2-3). 207-221. ISSN 0048-9697

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.01.021


The quaternary aquifer of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country, Northern Spain) is characterised by a shallow water table mainly fed by drainage water, and thus constitutes a vulnerable zone in regards to nitrate pollution. Field studies were performed with a potato crop in 1993 and a sugar beet crop in 2002 to evaluate their impact on nitrate leaching. The overall predictive quality of the STICS soil–crop model was first evaluated using field data and then the model was used to analyze dynamically the impacts of different crop management practices on nitrate leaching. The model was evaluated (i) on soil nitrate concentrations at different depths and (ii) on crop yields. The simulated values proved to be in satisfactory agreement with measured values. Nitrate leaching was more pronounced with the potato crop thanwith the sugar beet experiment due to i) greater precipitation, ii) lower N uptake of the potato crop due to shallow root depth, and iii) a shorter period of growth. The potato experiment showed that excessive irrigation could significantly increase nitrate leaching by increasing both drainage and nitrate concentrations. The different levels of N-fertilization examined in the sugar beet study had no notable effects on nitrate leaching due to its high N uptake capacity. Complementary virtual experiments were carried out using the STICS model. Our study confirmed that in vulnerable zones agricultural practices must be adjusted, that is to say: 1) N-fertilizer should not be applied in autumn before winter crops; 2) crops with low N uptake capacity (e.g. potatoes) should be avoided or should be preceded and followed by nitrogen catch crops or cover crops; 3) the nitrate concentration of irrigation water should be taken into account in calculation of the N-fertilization rate, and 4) Nfertilization must be precisely adjusted in particular for potato crops.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com
HAL Id:hal-02665924
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Universidad del País Vasco - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea - EHU (SPAIN)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:24 May 2012 07:39

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