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Nitrate retention under sugarcane in wet tropical Queensland deep soil profiles

Rasiah, V; Armour, J; Menzies, N W; Donn, M J; Mahendrarajah, S; Heiner, D A

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Nitrate leaching below the crop root-zone in variable charge soils may be adsorbed at anion exchange sites, thereby temporarily reducing the risk of contamination of water bodies. The objectives of this study were (i) to investigate whether nitrate adsorption, accumulation, and retention in the Johnstone River Catchment of Far North Queensland wet tropics is widespread; (ii) to assess the capacity of soil in the Johnstone River Catchment to retain nitrate; and (iii) to deduce the consequences...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRasiah, V
dc.contributor.authorArmour, J
dc.contributor.authorMenzies, N W
dc.contributor.authorDonn, M J
dc.contributor.authorMahendrarajah, S
dc.contributor.authorHeiner, D A
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:35:12Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:35:12Z
dc.identifier.issn0004-9573
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/76483
dc.description.abstractNitrate leaching below the crop root-zone in variable charge soils may be adsorbed at anion exchange sites, thereby temporarily reducing the risk of contamination of water bodies. The objectives of this study were (i) to investigate whether nitrate adsorption, accumulation, and retention in the Johnstone River Catchment of Far North Queensland wet tropics is widespread; (ii) to assess the capacity of soil in the Johnstone River Catchment to retain nitrate; and (iii) to deduce the consequences of nitrate adsorption/desorption on contamination of water bodies. Soil cores ranging from 8 to 12.5 m depth were taken from 28 sites across the catchment, representing 9 Ferrosol soil types under sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum-S) cultivation for at least 50 years and from rainforest. The cores were segmented at 0.5-m depth increments and subsamples were analysed for nitrate-N, cation and anion exchange capacities, pH, exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, K, Na), soil organic C, electrical conductivity, sulfate-S, and chloride. Nitrate-N concentration under sugarcane ranged from 0 to 72.5 mg/kg, compared with 0 to 0.31 mg/kg under rainforest, both Pin Gin soils. The average N load in 1-12 m depth across 19 highly oxidic profiles of the Pin Gin soil series was 1550 kg/ha, compared with 185 kg/ha under 8 non-Pin Gin soils and 11 kg/ha in rainforest on a Pin Gin soil. Most of the nitrate retention was observed at depth of 2-12 m, particularly at 4-10 m, indicating that the accumulation was well below the crop root-zone. The average maximum potential nitrate retention capacity was 10.8 t/ha for the Pin Gin and 4.7 t/ha for the non-Pin Gin soil. Compared with the current N load, the soils still possess a large capacity to adsorb and retain nitrate in profiles. Retention of large quantities of the leached nitrate deep in most of the profiles has reduced the risk of contamination of water bodies. However, computations show that substantial quantities of the nitrate leached below the root-zone were not adsorbed and remain unaccounted for. This unaccounted nitrate might have entered both on- and off-site water bodies and/or have been denitrified.
dc.publisherCSIRO Publishing
dc.sourceAustralian Journal of Soil Research
dc.subjectKeywords: Adsorption; Catchments; Ion exchange; Leaching; Nitrates; pH; Rivers; Sugar cane; Water pollution; Rainforests; Soils; adsorption; agricultural production; ion exchange; leaching; nitrate; retention; soil nutrient; sugar cane; Australasia; Australia; John Environmental concern; Leached nitrate; Nitrate adsorption and retention; Nitrate retention capacity; Soil types
dc.titleNitrate retention under sugarcane in wet tropical Queensland deep soil profiles
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume41
dc.date.issued2003
local.identifier.absfor050204 - Environmental Impact Assessment
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub5290
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRasiah, V, QLD Department of Natural Resources and Mines
local.contributor.affiliationArmour, J, Centre for Tropical Agriculture
local.contributor.affiliationMenzies, N W, University of Queensland
local.contributor.affiliationDonn, M J, University of Queensland
local.contributor.affiliationMahendrarajah, S, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationHeiner, D A, QLD Department of Natural Resources and Mines
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1145
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage1161
local.identifier.doi10.1071/SR02076
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:26:45Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-0345393223
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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