Urea contributions to dissolved 'organic' nitrogen losses from intensive, fertilised agriculture

Davis, Aaron M., Tink, Michelle, Rohde, Ken, and Brodie, Jon E. (2016) Urea contributions to dissolved 'organic' nitrogen losses from intensive, fertilised agriculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 223. pp. 190-196.

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Abstract

While nearly 60% of global nitrogen fertilizer use is in the form of urea, and urea is increasingly implicated in aquatic eutrophication, little is known of the scale or temporal dynamics of urea export from intensive agriculture. Annual paddock urea nitrogen exports in surfacewater runoff were quantified across multiple years from several sugarcane farms across Australia's Great Barrier Reef catchment area. Study results suggest that runoff of undegraded urea can represent a significant proportion of the total 'dissolved organic nitrogen' pool leaving paddocks, and an important form of nitrogenous export from fertilised agricultural land uses. Situations where substantial rainfall or irrigation-driven surfacewater runoff occur within 1–2 weeks of fertiliser application particularly provide scope for major, and in some cases dominant, losses of undegraded urea from paddocks. Fertiliser derived urea can be a significant, bioavailable and anthropogenic form of dissolved 'organic' nitrogen export that warrants further attention in many field and catchment scale research applications.

Item ID: 48126
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2305
Keywords: nitrogen export, eutrophication, water quality, fertiliser
Funders: Australian Government (AG), Queensland Government (QG)
Projects and Grants: AG Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program, QG Smithsonian Fellowship
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 06:21
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
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