“There’s a lot of fertilizer nitrogen that has accumulated in agricultural soils over the last few decades which will continue to leak as nitrate towards groundwater,” said researcher Mathieu Sebilo, the paper’s lead author.
Three decades after scientists applied fertilizer to sugar beet and winter wheat on two small experimental plots in France, they found that just 61 to 65 percent of its nitrogen had been gobbled up by the crops. Another 12 to 15 percent was still in the soil, and 8 to 12 percent had leached into the groundwater. (The scientists used a fertilizer with an artificially high concentration of a specific nitrogen isotope to help them track its movement over the decades.)
Based on those results, the scientists project that some of the nitrogen will still be lingering in the plots in another 50 years time.
I was raised on a small farm in Illinois. My wife, Eileen and I and family have worked together hand and hand on this farm (and adjoining land we bought) since 1966. I attended and graduated University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL. I received a Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude)in Agricultural Engineering in 1970.
I worked as a registered Professional Engineer for the Rock Island District, US Army Corps of Engineers for 33 years, before retiring. I held several supervisory positions while at Corps: Chief, Regulatory Branch, Assistant Chief of Operations Division, Chief of the Lock and Dam Branch, and Mississippi River Project Manager. One highlight of my career was developing NIC (Google "NIC - Navigation Information Connection") during the early 90's, in a joint effort, with the District's Information Management personnel and Navigation Industry Representatives.
My wife and I have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. We have businesses associated with farming, "live edge" furniture making, vegetable produce, and graphics. We enjoy pursuing our hobby interests.