Solute recycling by crops and leaching in a drained arable soil

Book Title: NA
Year Published: 2005
Month Published: APR
Author: Kohler, A ; Abbaspour, KC ; Fritsch, M ; Schulin, R
Book Group Author: NA

Preferential flow, as it bypasses the soil matrix, can greatly enhance the leaching of chemicals. When a soil is drained there is the risk that such short-circuiting results in more or less direct passage of polluting chemicals from the soil to the groundwater. If the groundwater table is shallow the chemicals could be transferred back into the surface soil by hydraulic lift through roots and subsequent release by exudation or from decaying plant residues and again become exposed to leaching by preferential flow, thus strongly enhancing the chance of export via the drains. We investigated the leaching of bromide in a tile-drained arable field over 2 years of crop rotation. The site was a former wetland, artificially drained a century ago for agriculture. Bromide was applied over 1.6 ha at a dosage of 10 g Br per m(2) in August 1995 after the harvest of wheat. During the 2 years 18% of the applied bromide was exported via the drainage system, most of it in preferential flow events and more than half of it in a single winter storm 5 months after the application. Within 7 months 56% of the applied tracer was leached out of the main root zone into the groundwater. Subsequently the tracer re-emerged in water taken up by sugar beet in the following season. The beet accumulated 50% of the initially applied bromide in their leaves and released it again after harvest when the leaves were left as green manure on the field. Our results show that this recycling of solutes to the topsoil can have an important influence on their leaching as the solutes are thus again exposed to preferential transport into drains in the course of preferential flow events.

Pages: 145-153
Volume: 56
Number: 2
Journal ISO: Eur. J. Soil Sci.
Organization: NA
ISSN: 1351-0754
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2004.00653.x


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