By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff
Identifying factors that influence flow and nutrient loss was the topic of a presentation by Brittany Hanrahan, research biologist with the ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit in Ohio at the Conservation Tillage Conference.
“We know that storms can contribute disproportionately to cumulative annual phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) losses during the year,” Hanrahan said. “The big picture is that excess P and N fuel algal blooms and have negative impacts. Excess P and N fertilize the algal blooms which eventually die and decompose stripping oxygen from the water causing hypoxic zones. There are over 400 different hypoxic zones found in the world today.”
Data collected in the edge of field studies show that peaks in water discharge coincide with peaks in precipitation events. Surface runoff levels of P and N differ from tile discharge levels.