Cade-Menun, B. J., Bell, G., Baker-Ismail, S., Fouli, Y., Hodder, K., McMartin, D. W., Perez-Valdivia, C. and Wu, K. 2013. Nutrient loss from Saskatchewan cropland and pasture in spring snowmelt runoff. Can. J. Soil Sci. 93: 445-458. To develop appropriate beneficial management practices (BMPs) for a watershed, it is essential to quantify the nutrients lost from agricultural fields and to identify the mechanisms of nutrient transport. To determine appropriate BMPs for a watershed in southeastern Saskatchewan, nutrient concentrations were measured in spring 2010 in snowmelt runoff from fertilized annual cropland (zero till) and perennial tame pastures. The majority of nutrient loss was in dissolved form, rather than as particulates. Significantly more nitrogen (N) was lost from pastures as dissolved ammonium than from cropland, while significantly more dissolved organic N was lost from croplands. Although there were no significant differences in total phosphorus (P) loss, there were significantly higher concentrations of dissolved reactive P in runoff from cropland, and significantly higher particulate P in runoff from pastures. Total carbon (C) in runoff was higher from cropland, due mainly to significantly higher dissolved organic C concentrations. Runoff from cropland contained significantly higher concentrations of dissolved potassium and sulfur, reflecting the fertilization of cropland fields with these nutrients. These preliminary results demonstrate that nutrients may be transported from agricultural lands by different mechanisms (e.g., in dissolved versus particulate forms) as a function of cropping system, requiring the development of specific types of BMPs to best control nutrient losses.
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