Protecting Drinking Water Supply from Nitrogen Fertilizer

Groundwater resources in the Central Sands Region of Minnesota are becoming increasingly contaminated by elevated levels of nitrate, above the health risk level of 10 ppm for drinking water. Irrigated and N-fertilizer intensive agriculture is common on the sandy soils of the region, especially in the form of corn and potato production, and is a source of groundwater contamination. Adaptive management strategies such as variable-rate N-fertilizer application and sensor-based improved irrigation water management could reduce leaching losses of nitrate while maintaining existing yields. This projects combines an on-going field study on irrigation and nitrogen management strategies for potatoes with biophysical simulation modeling to develop a tool to protect vulnerable drinking water resources while maintaining agronomic productivity.

Project Staff: 

Brian Bohman, Dr. Carl Rosen, and Dr. David Mulla