Agricultural non-point source pollution is one of the main factors contaminating the environment. However, the impact of rainfall on loss of non-point nitrogen is far from well understood. Based on the artificial rainfall simulation experiments to monitor the loss of dissolved nitrogen (DN) in surface runoff and interflow of vegetable field, this study analyzed the effects of rainfall intensity and fertilization scheme on nitrogen (N) loss. The results indicated that fertilizer usage is the main factor affecting the nitrogen loss in surface runoff, while runoff and rainfall intensity play important roles in interflow nitrogen loss. The proportion of DN lost through the surface runoff was more than 91%, and it decreased with increasing rainfall intensity. There was a clear linear trend (r2
> 0.96) between the amount of DN loss and runoff. Over 95% of DN was lost as nitrate nitrogen (NN), which was the major component of nitrogen loss. Compared with the conventional fertilization treatment (CF), the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied in the optimized fertilization treatment (OF) decreased by 38.9%, and the loss of DN decreased by 28.4%, but root length, plant height and yield of pak choi increased by 6.3%, 2.7% and 5.6%, respectively. Our findings suggest that properly reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer can improve the utilization rate of nitrogen fertilizer but will not reduce the yield of pak choi. Controlling fertilizer usage and reducing runoff generation are important methods to reduce the DN loss in vegetable fields.
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