Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 96, Issue 2–3, pp 149–170 | Cite as

Effect of manure quality on nitrate leaching and groundwater pollution in wetland soil under field tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, Mill var. Heinz) rape (Brassica napus, L var. Giant)

  • Johnson MasakaEmail author
  • Menas Wuta
  • Justice Nyamangara
  • Francis Themba Mugabe
Original Article


Recent decades have seen an increase in groundwater pollution thought to be a consequence of increasing intensity of land use, primarily through greater use of high N analysis materials as fertilizers. A two-season lysimeter experiment was carried out in a wetland in central Zimbabwe in order to determine the effect of cattle manure quality on (1) NO3–N concentration in leachate and nitrate leaching (2) dry matter accumulation and uptake of N by tomato and rape crops grown in wetland conditions. Two cattle manure quality types based on N content were used in the experiment. The manure collected from a kraal of the smallholder wetland community was classified as high quality manure (high N, 1.36 % N) while that collected from the adjacent commercial farming area was classified as low quality manure (low N, 0.51 % N). The two manure types were applied in rates of 0, 15, 30 Mg ha−1. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replicates. When 15 and 30 Mg high and low N manure ha−1 were applied, the concentration of NO3–N in leachate exceeded the recommended 10 mg L−1 concentration in portable water by 15–104 and 53–174 % respectively. The substitution of 15 and 30 Mg of high N manure with 15 and 30 Mg ha−1 of low N manure reduced total N lost through leaching by 10–43 and 22–69 % respectively. Ground water contamination by nitrate overload can be considerably reduced by application of low N manure to vegetable crops.


Manure Quality Nitrate Leaching Wetland 



This research was made possible through funding by the Research Board of the Midlands State University. Most of the laboratory analysis was done in the Department of Chemical Technology of the same university.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnson Masaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Menas Wuta
    • 2
  • Justice Nyamangara
    • 3
  • Francis Themba Mugabe
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Land and Water Resources Management, Faculty of Natural Resources Management and AgricultureMidlands State UniversityGweruZimbabwe
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe
  3. 3.Matopos Research StationInternational Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid TropicsBulawayoZimbabwe
  4. 4.Directorate of Research and Resource MobilisationChinhoyi University of TechnologyChinhoyiZimbabwe

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