By Doug Sibbitt
In recent years we’ve been dealing with wet, cool springs and signs of nitrate leaching have been very prevalent.
Leaching of nitrate-nitrogen to groundwater and into our water supplies continues to be a topic for discussion. Nitrate-nitrogen in groundwater may result from point sources such as sewage disposal systems and livestock facilities, and non-point sources such as fertilized cropland, parks, lawns, golf courses, gardens, and naturally occurring sources of nitrogen. It has been shown that, in certain conditions, up to 50 percent of applied nitrogen can be lost due to leaching.
How can we do our part in trying to keep nitrate-nitrogen below EPA guidelines*?
ESN has shown in leaching trials to lessen the nitrates going into the groundwater and improve nitrate uptake in the crop, or improve the nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE). The flexible, polymer coating allows moisture to pass through it, dissolve nitrogen inside, and then release that nitrogen when the crop needs it. The charts below demonstrate how well ESN protects nitrogen from leaching loss.
The picture below was taken from a trial in Wisconsin showing how well ESN improves NUE by controlling the loss of nitrate-nitrogen due to leaching.
In soils where leaching is a major factor in nitrogen loss, consider protecting that nitrogen investment by using ESN.
*EPA guidelines are 10 mg/L as the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate-nitrogen and 1 mg/L for nitrate-nitrogen in regulated public water systems.