Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 285–295 | Cite as

Reducing interflow nitrogen loss from hillslope cropland in a purple soil hilly region in southwestern China

  • Wang Tao
  • Zhu BoEmail author
  • Kuang Fuhong
Original Article


Interflow related nitrogen (N) loss from hillslope cropland is a global issue of concern. Field experiments were carried out in purple soil to study how to reduce interflow related N loss by substituting organic fertilizers for mineral fertilizers. Study conditions were engineered where identical amounts of N were applied to four different fertilization regimes: N fertilizer only, mineral fertilizers (MF), mineral fertilizers with livestock manure (MFL), and mineral fertilizers with crop straw (MFS). Results showed that total MFL and MFS interflow N loss decreased by 44.1 and 36.9 %, respectively, compared to the MF fertilization regime, using identical amounts of N. Furthermore, crop yields for the MFL and MFS fertilization regimes were higher compared to the MF fertilization regime. These findings can result in an important new means in controlling interflow N loss from hillslope cropland by substituting organic fertilizers for a port of mineral fertilizers, using identical amounts of organic fertilizer.


Organic fertilizer Purple soil Nitrogen Hillslope cropland Interflow 



Funding for this study was provided by the CAS Action-plan for West Development (no. KZCX2-XB3-09) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 40901255). We thank Brian Doonan professor (Québec, Canada) for his help in writing this paper. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful remarks.


  1. Anshu S, Jose RB, Stephen RW (2008) Runoff and drainage water quality from geotextile and gravel pads used in livestock feeding and loafing areas. Bioresour Technol 99:3224–3232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Audun K (2008) Relations between nitrogen leaching and food productivity in organic and conventional cropping systems in a long-term field study. Agric Ecosyst Environ 127:177–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron R, Benitez IC, Gonzalez JL (1995) Influencia de la dosis creciente de un abono orga′nico en un cultivo de trigo. Agrochimica 39:280–289Google Scholar
  4. Carpenter SR, Caraco NF, Correll DL, Howarth RW, Sharpley AN, Smith VH (1998) Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8:559–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ceccon P, Dallacosta L, Dellevedove G, Giovanardi R, Peressotti A, Bastianel A, Zamborlini M (1995) Nitrogen in drainage water as influenced by soil depth and N fertilizer: a study in lysimeters. Eur J Agron 4(3):289–298Google Scholar
  6. Chambers BJ, Smith KA, Pain BF (2000) Strategies to encourage better use of nitrogen in animal manures. Soil Use Manag 16(suppl.):157–161Google Scholar
  7. Constantin J, Mary B, Laurent F, Aubrion G, Fontaine A, Kerveillant P, Beaudoin N (2010) Effects of catch crops, no till and reduced nitrogen fertilization on nitrogen leaching and balance in three long-term experiments. Agric Ecosyst Environ 135:268–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dinnes DL, Karlen DL, Jaynes DB, Kaspar TC, Hatfield JL, Colvin TS, Cambardella CA (2002) Nitrogen management strategies to reduce nitrate leaching in tile-drained Midwestern soils. Agron J 94:153–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dordas CA, Lithourgidis AS, Matsi T, Barbayiannis N (2008) Application of liquid cattle manure and inorganic fertilizers affect dry matter, nitrogen accumulation, and partitioning in maize. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 80:283–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Edmeades DC (2003) The long-term effects of manures and fertilisers on soil productivity and quality: a review. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 66:165–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fuller KD, Gordon R, Grimmett M, Fillmore S, Madani A, VanRoestel J, Stratton GW, MacLeod J, Embree C, St George E (2010) Seasonal and crop rotational effects of manure management on nitrate-nitrogen leaching in Nova Scotia. Agric Ecosyst Environ 137:267–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gentile R, Vanlauwe B, van Kessel C, Six J (2009) Managing N availability and losses by combining fertilizer-N with different quality residues in Kenya. Agric Ecosyst Environ 131:308–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gong ZT (1999) Chinese soil taxonomy. Science Press, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Granlund K, Rekolainen S, Gronroos J, Nikander A, Laine Y (2000) Estimation of the impact of fertilisation rate on nitrate leaching in Finland using a mathematical simulation model. Agric Ecosyst Environ 80:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hansen B, Kristensen ES, Grant R, Hogh-Jensen H, Simmels-gaard SE, Olesen JE (2000) Nitrogen leaching from conventional versus organic farming systems—a system modelling approach. Eur J Agron 13:65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang L, Ding XW, Dong Z, Cai QG, Zhang GY (1998) Study on nutrient losses of purple soil in Three Gorges Reservoir region. J Soil Water Conserv 4:8–13 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. Jackson DR, Smith KA (1997) Animal manure slurries as a source of nitrogen for cereals: effect of application time on efficiency. Soil Use Manag 13:75–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jia H, Lei A, Lei J, Ye M, Zhao J (2007) Effects of hydrological processes on nitrogen loss in purple soil. Agri Water Manag 89:89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kemppainen E (1995) Leaching and uptake of nitrogen and phosphorus from cow slurry and fox manure in a lysimeter trial. Agr Sci Finl 4:363–375Google Scholar
  20. Kronvang B, Graesboll P, Larsen SE, Svendsen LM, Andersen HE (1996) Diffuse nutrient losses in Denmark. Water Sci Technol 33:81–88Google Scholar
  21. Li ZM, Zhang XW, He YR, Tang SJ (1991) Purple soil in China (A). Science Press, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  22. Lovett GM, Weathers KC, Sobczak W (2000) Nitrogen saturation and retention in forested watersheds of the Catskill Mountains, NY. Ecol Appl 10:73–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lu RK (1999) Soil agro-chemical analysis methods. China Agro-science Press, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Mantovi P, Fumagalli L, Beretta GP, Guermandi M (2006) Nitrate leaching through the unsaturated zone following pig slurry applications. J Hydrol 316:195–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mehaffry MH, Nash MS, Wade TG, Ebert DW, Jones KB, Rager A (2005) Linking land cover and water quality in New York City’s water supply watersheds. Environ Monit Assess 107:29–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morihiro M, Bingzi Z, Yasuo O, Tadakatsu Y (2003) Nitrate leaching in an Andisol treated with different types of fertilizers. Environ Pollut 121:477–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Naef F, Scherrer S, Weiler M (2002) A process based assessment of the potential to reduce flood runoff by land use change. J Environ Qual 267:74–79Google Scholar
  28. Olson BM, Bennett DR, McKenzie RH, Ormann TD, Atkins RP (2009) Nitrate leaching in two irrigated soils with different rates of cattle manure. J Environ Qual 38:2218–2228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Petry J, Soulsby C, Malcolm IA, Youngson AF (2002) Hydrological controls on nutrient concentrations and fluxes in agricultural catchments. Sci Total Environ 294:95–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qiu Z, Walter MT, Hall C (2007) Managing variable source pollution in agricultural watersheds. J Soil Water Conserv 62(3):115–121Google Scholar
  31. Saarijärvi K, Virkajarvi P, Heinonen-Tanski H, Taipalinen I (2004) N and P leaching and microbial contamination from intensively managed pasture and cut sward on sandy soil in Finland. Agric Ecosyst Environ 104:621–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schroder JJ, Assinck FBT, Uenk D, Velthof GL (2010) Nitrate leaching from cut grassland as affected by the substitution of slurry with nitrogen mineral fertilizer on two soil types. Grass Forage Sci 65:49–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sharma SN, Prasad R (2008) Effect of crop-residue management on the production and agronomic nitrogen efficiency in a rice–wheat cropping system. J Plant Nut Soil Sc 171(2):295–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Silva RG, Holub SM, Jorgensen EE, Ashanuzzaman ANM (2005) Indicators of nitrate leaching loss under different land use of clayey and sandy soils in southeastern Oklahoma. Agric Ecosyst Environ 109:346–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tejada M, Gonzalez JL (2003) Application of a byproduct of the two-step olive oil mill process on rice yield. Agrochimica 47:94–102Google Scholar
  36. Tejada M, Benitez C, Gonzalez JL (2005) Effects of application of two organomineral fertilizers on nutrient leaching losses and wheat crop. Agron J 97:960–967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thomsen IK, Hansen JF, Kjellerup V, Christensen BT (1993) Effects of cropping system and rates of nitrogen in animal slurry and mineral fertilizer on nitrate leaching from a sandy loam. Soil Use Manag 9(2):53–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang T, Zhu B (2011) Nitrate loss via overland flow and interflow from a sloped farmland in the hilly area of purple soil, China. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 90:309–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xie XQ, Wang LJ (1998) Water environment observation and analysis: Standard methods for observation and analysis in Chinese Ecosystem Research Network. Standards Press of China, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  40. Xiong Y, Li QK (1986) Soils in China. Science Press, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  41. Yague MR, Quilez D (2010) Response of maize yield, nitrate leaching, and soil nitrogen to pig slurry combined with mineral nitrogen. J Environ Qual 39:686–696PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhu B, Wang T, Kuang FH, Luo ZX, Tang JL, Xu TP (2009) Measurements of nitrate leaching from a hillslope cropland in the central Sichuan basin, China. Soil Sci Soc Am J 73:1419–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Environment Evolvement and Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina

Personalised recommendations