The Nutrient Concentration in Drainage Water in Fertilizer Experiments in Skriveri


  • Janis Vigovskis Latvian University of Agriculture
  • Aivars Jermuss Latvian University of Agriculture
  • Daina Sarkanbarde Latvian University of Agriculture
  • Agrita Svarta Latvian University of Agriculture



drainage water, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium


The paper describes the influence of long term (more than 30 years) fertilizer application to nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium leaching through subsurface drainage in small experimental catchment. The effect of crop and cultivation practice on nutrient concentrations in drainage water is analyzed. This paper presents leaching data during 2011-2013 when spring oilseed rape (OSR), spring barley (SB) and perennial grasses (GC) were grown.

The research has been carried out at the Research Institute of Agriculture of Latvian University of Agriculture in the long-term subsurface drainage field established in Skrīveri in 1981 under the guidance of professor J. Štikāns. The long-term drainage field was established in the uncultivated gleyic sod-podzolic Hypostagnic Endogleyic Albeluvisol (Hypereutric), stw-ng-AB(he) loam that had not been used in agriculture for 20 years before. The experimental field was established with four rates of mineral fertilizers: without fertilizers, N45P30K45; N90P60K90 N135P90K135 calculated in form of P2O5 and K2O. Since 1994 a seven-year crop rotation has been organized: 1) winter triticale, 2) potatoes, 3) spring wheat, 4) spring oilseed rape, 5) spring barley + perennial grasses (red clover, timothy), 6) perennial grasses, 1st year of using, and 7) perennial grasses 2nd year of using. The total area (1.6 ha) of the experimental field was divided into 16 plots (15x50 m). Each plot was supplied with a seepage tile drain at the depth of 80-100 cm and an inspection well for drain water sampling and measurement of total water amount.

The nitrate nitrogen content in subsurface drain water was significantly affected by fertilizer rate and crop species. The concentration of nitrogen in drain water was significantly lower from non-fertilised plots than from other treatments and was considerably lower growing grass without autumn soil tillage than with conventional ploughing. Different fertilizer rates (applying 30, 60 or 90 kg ha-1 of phosphorus and no fertilizer) had no significant effect on phosphorus concentration in drain water. However, concentration of potassium in drain water depended remarkably (p<0.001) on fertilization rate and was lower from non-fertilized plots. Without autumn ploughing and providing vegetation potassium leaching was significantly lower. The use of fertilizers increased the subsurface water concentration of calcium and magnesium considerably.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

  • Janis Vigovskis, Latvian University of Agriculture
    Research Institute of Agriculture
  • Aivars Jermuss, Latvian University of Agriculture
    Research Institute of Agriculture
  • Daina Sarkanbarde, Latvian University of Agriculture
    Research Institute of Agriculture
  • Agrita Svarta, Latvian University of Agriculture
    Research Institute of Agriculture


Bechmann M., Deelstra J. Source areas of phosphorus transfer in an agricultural catchment, south-eastern Norway. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science 56(4), 2006, pp. 292–306

Bechmann M., Greipsland I., Ogaard A.F. Phosphorus use in agriculture. In:Bechmann M., Deelstra J. editors. Agriculture and environment – long-term monitoring in Norway, Akademika publishing, 2013, pp 69–82.

Bechmann M., Stålnacke P., Kværnø S., Eggestad H.O., Øygarden L. Integrated tool for risk assessment in agricultural management of soil erosion and losses of phosphorus and nitrogen. Science of The Total Environment 407(2), 2009, pp 749–759.

Butkute R. Calcium and magnesium concentrations in the leachate from permanent meadow soils. Sustainable grassland productivity. Proceedings of the 21st General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation; April 3-6; Badajoz (Spain), 2006, pp 718–720

Dodd R. J., McDowell R. W. , Condron L. M. Changes in soil phosphorus availability and potential phosphorus loss following cessation of phosphorus fertiliser inputs. Soil Research 51(5), 2013, pp. 427–436.

Grimvall A., Stålnacke P., Tonderski A. Time scales of nutrient losses from land to sea — a European perspective. Ecological Engineering 14(4), 2000, pp. 363–371.

Heckrath G., Brookes P. C., Poulton P. R., Goulding K. W. T. Phosphorus leaching from soils containing different phosphorus concentrations in the Broadbalk experiment. Journal of Environmental Quality 24(5). 1995, pp. 904-910

Horta M.C., Torrent J. The Olsen P method as an agronomic and environmental test for predicting phosphate release from acid soils. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 77, 2007, pp. 283–292.

World reference base for soil resources 2006

Jansons V. Abramenko K., Bērziņa L., Timbare R. Risk assessment of the agricultural pollution with nitrates in Latvia. Proceedings of the Latvian University of Agriculture 22, 2009, pp. 1–11.

Jansons V., Lagzdiņs A., Bērziņa L., Sudārs R., Abramenko K. Temporal and spatial variation of nutrient leaching from agricultural land in Latvia: long term trends in retention and nutrient loss in a drainage and small catchment scale. Scientific Journal of Riga Tehnical University: Environmental and Climate Tehnologies 13, 2011, pp. 54–65.

Jouany C., Colomb B., Bosc M. Long-term effects of potassium fertilization on yields and fertility status of calcareous soils of south-west France. European journal of agronomy 5( 3–4), 1996, pp 287–294.

Končius D., Ožeraitienė D., Piaulokaitė-Motuzienė L., Katutis K. The effect of long-term antropogenic load on the properties of Albeluvisol. Vagos. 80(33), 2008, pp. 33–39. (Lithuanian).

Mažvila J. Agrochemical properties of Lithuanian soils and their change: a monograph / compiled by Mažvila J. Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture, 1998, pp. 37–49 (Lithuanian)

Mesić M., Kisić I., Bašić F., Butorac A., Zgorelec Ž., Gašpar I. Losses of Ca, Mg and SO42-S with drainage water at fertilisation with different nitrogen rates. Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus. 72(1), 2007, pp. 53–58.

Monaghan R. M., Paton R. J., Smith L. C., Drewry J.J., LittlejohnR. P. The impacts of nitrogen fertilisation and increased stocking rate on pasture yield, soil physical condition and nutrient losses in drainage from a cattle-grazed pasture. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 48(2), 2005, pp. 227–240.

Pizzeghello D., Berti A., Nardi S., Morari F. Phosphorus-related properties in the profiles of three Italian soils after long-term mineral and manure applications. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 189, 2014, pp. 216–228.

Ristimaki L. Potassium and magnesium fertiliser recommendations in some European countries. The International Fertilizer Society; Proceedings No. 620. 2007; York (UK), pp. 32.

Stålnacke P., Grimvall A., Sundblad K., Tonderski A. Estimation of riverine loads of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Baltic Sea, 1970–1993. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 58( 2), 1999, pp. 173–200.

Stålnacke P., Pengerund A., Vassiljev A., Smedberg E., Mörth C.-M., Hägg H. E., Humborg C. Andersen H. E. Nitrogen surface water retention in the Baltic Sea drainage basin. Hydrology Earth System Sciences 11, 2014, pp. 10829–10858.

Stålnacke P., Vagstad N., Tamminen T., Wassmann P., Jansons V., Loigu E. Nutrient runoff and transfer from land and rivers to the Gulf of Riga. Hydrobiologia. 410(0), 1999a, pp. 103–110.

Tripolskaja L. Organic fertilisers and their effect on the environment: a monograph. Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture, 2005, 216 (Lithuanian).

Tripolskaja L., Janušienė V. Management of agroecosystem components. Results of long-term agrochemical experiments: a monograph/ compiled by Tripolskaja L. et al. Lithuanian Research Centre of Agriculture and Forestry, 2010, pp. 282–288 (Lithuanian)

Uhlen G. The leaching behaviour and balances of nitrogen and other elements of spring wheat in lysimeter experiment 1985-1992. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. Section B, Soil and Plant Sci. 44, 1994, pp. 201–207.

Wesström I., Messing I. Effects of controlled drainage on N and P losses and N dynamics in loamy sand with spring crops. Agricultural Water Management. 87(3, 16), 2007, pp. 229–240.

Withers P., Ulén B., Stamm Ch., Bechmann M. Incidental phosphorus losses – are they significant and can they be predicted? Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. 166(4), 2003, pp. 459–468.




How to Cite

J. Vigovskis, A. Jermuss, D. Sarkanbarde, and A. Svarta, “The Nutrient Concentration in Drainage Water in Fertilizer Experiments in Skriveri”, ETR, vol. 2, pp. 323–328, Jun. 2015, doi: 10.17770/etr2015vol2.277.