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Factors affecting the Leaching of Nitrate to Groundwater in the Republic of Ireland

R. H. Thorn


The results of a field investigation into the factors affecting the leaching of nitrate to groundwater in the Republic of Ireland are presented. The leaching of nitrate is shown to be affected by the amount of fertiliser nitrogen applied and the number of applications. No clear relationship was found between soil texture and the amount of nitrate leached and the leaching of mineralised and nitrified nitrogen occurred in only a small number of plots. The data on the effect that the amount of infiltration had on the amount of nitrate leached were inconclusive but dilution was shown to have a marked effect on the concentration of nitrate in recharge. The study found that the amounts of nitrate leached beneath grassland receiving up to 210 kg of fertiliser nitrogen ha-1 were small but that above 210 kg ha-1 the amounts leached were very variable.

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