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An equation to predict the leaching of surface-applied nitrate

  • I. G. Burns (a1)


The fraction (f) of surface-applied nitrate leached below any depth h cm in a uniform soil profile may be calculated from the equation

where P is the quantity of water draining through the soil (in cm) and Vm is the percentage volumetric field capacity. The fraction of nitrate retained is then (1—f).

This equation has been tested using published data. Values of h corresponding to the mean displacement (f = 0·5) were calculated for a wide range of soil and weather conditions and the results compared with mean displacements measured in the field. Similar comparisons were made with the leaching equation of Rousselle (1913) and Levin (1964). The new equation gives good agreement with the observed data, whereas the Rousselle-Levin equation generally overestimates the mean displacement of nitrate. Methods of applying the equations to field situations are discussed.



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