Measurement of nitrate leaching potential of a vertisol using bromide as a tracer under rainfed conditions of the indian semi-arid tropics

Patra, A K and Rego, T J (1997) Measurement of nitrate leaching potential of a vertisol using bromide as a tracer under rainfed conditions of the indian semi-arid tropics. Soil Science, 162 (9). pp. 656-665. ISSN 0038-075X

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High temperatures and evaporation in summer (April-June) and erratic rainfall in the wet season (July-September) are common features of the harsh environment of Indian semiarid tropics (SAT). The rainfall of this region often occurs in large storms punctuated by discrete dry spells. During excessive rainy periods there is a strong possibility that a large part of the resident soil-N, especially NO - [over] 3, NO - [over] 2 etc., may move beyond the root zone with the excess water percolating down the soil profile. To understand the N losses through leaching in a deep Vertisol (depth > 150 cm) of the Indian SAT, a field experiment was conducted during the "wet" season (June-September) of 1992 under rainfed conditions, using bromide (Br-) as a tracer for NO - [over] 3. Bromide (as NaBr) at 200 kg ha-1 was applied onto the surface of a bare fallow soil, in microplots (200 x 200 cm2), on June 15, and its vertical movement to 100 cm was monitored weekly. Results showed that Br- distribution was influenced strongly by rainfall. After 1 week (June 15-22), with a rainfall of 64 mm, Br- was found to a depth of 60 cm, and whereas most (40%) was in the top layer (0-10 cm), a total of 90% of applied Br- was recovered to a depth of 60 cm. With large storms occurring in early July (e.g., 68 mm on July 2), Br- was moved further down the profile and accumulated largely in the 30 to 40-cm layer. In early August, because of continuous heavy rainfall, almost all Br- had migrated beyond 50 cm depth. Approximately 40% was not found within the profile (0-100 cm) on September 11. In dry spells during late August and early September, upward movement of 10 to 20% of Br- was also noticed at 60 to 100 cm depth. Thus, the results demonstrate that early August may be a critical period for maximum NO - [over] 3 leaching in this soil and emphasize the need of advance strategies to reduce these effects in view of increasing need for N use efficiency and reduction of ground water contamination

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bromide, Leaching, losses from soil, Measurement, Nitrates, Tracer techniques, Tropics, Vertisols
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Fertilizer Applications
Others > Climate Change
Depositing User: Ms. Ishrath Durafsha
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 14:13
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2014 14:19
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The first author (AKP) thanks the authorities of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, for nominating him for postdoctoral research at ICRISAT . AKP is also indebted to the Director, Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi, India, for his kind help and encouragem ent during this program . Thanks are also due to S.C. Jarvis, IGER , North Wyke, Devon, U K , and two anonymous referees whose constructive comments/suggestions have been helpful in modifying this paper.
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