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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Thomas E. Schumacher


Public concerns about groundwater quality have increased the necessity for accurate prediction of aquifer and soil NO3-N accumulations. The deeper these concentrations occur, the greater the threat to accumulation in groundwater (Schertz and Miller, 1972). Studies in Iowa have found that subsurface drainage water from cultivated fields usually exceeds EPA standards for NO3-N (> 10 mg l-1) and that as the use of nitrogen fertilizers increase, so does the NO3-N concentration in the drainage water (Kanwar, et al., 1985). Circumstantial evidence indicates that water quality deterioration may be associated with the increase in application of nitrogen fertilizers, but positive evidence is not available (Viets and Hageman, 1971; Kanwar, et al., 1985). With this in mind, more needs to be known about where and under what conditions soil NO3-N accumulations will be the greatest. For practical applications, it should be studied on a field size basis in order to make reasonably sound conclusions regarding soil NO3-N accumulations. The objectives of this study were: 1.) To determine the relationship of selected soil properties on soil NO3-N distribution and; 2.) To determine the spatial variability of soil NO3-N within a glacial till landscape and identify potential causes of any non-random variability. The study tested the hypothesis that the variability of soil NO3-N is influenced by the landscape position and soil mapping unit at the point sampled, thus resulting in deeper leaching of NO3-N at points lower in the landscape and in soils with greater leaching potential.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soils -- South Dakota -- Nitrogen content
Soil mapping -- South Dakota -- Data processing




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