Nitrates in MN Wells

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High Stick
Posts: 168
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:19 am
Location: Driftless and The West

Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by High Stick »


S.T.Fanatic
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by S.T.Fanatic »

I'm all for taking measures for reduction in nitrates but they also need to be realistic.

Eliminating the ethanol mandate would go a long way. I don't have any concrete facts but, I would assume that the "crop farmers" are the ones the most to blame for it. The amount of non organic fertilizer these guys put on fields is way to much. Only a certain percent of that N is "plant available" thus the reason so much N is required to grow a good crop. The rest of the N that isnt "plant available" just leaches through the soil.

Putting requirements on farmers to be able to qualify for subsidies would be another. Example: No subsidies on crops that haven't been on a crop rotation. Many of these crop farmers just plant corn every year. There is a high demand for N to grow corn and they put it on by using urea or anhydrous ammonia. Legumes (mainly soybeans and alfalfa in our area) are able to take N out of the atmosphere which consists of dam near 80% of the air we breath and convert it into N for the next years crops to use. (technically its the Mycorrhizal Fungi living in the soil surrounding the plants root system that converts it to N but thats a story for another day)

Cover crops, No spreading manure on top of snow filled fields that are ready to melt and run into streams(although that does not have an impact on drinking water) the list goes on and on.

I just use a reverse osmosis system and not think about it when it comes to drinking water.

Dont forget about people that live in towns and golf courses. How green and weed free does your frickin yard have to be? That clover you pay to have someone kill is producing Nitrogen that your grass needs to grow and be that nice dark color that everyone cares about.
“What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works. What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?” Aldo Leopold

brntrout
Posts: 3150
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by brntrout »

S.T.Fanatic wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:09 am
I'm all for taking measures for reduction in nitrates but they also need to be realistic.

Eliminating the ethanol mandate would go a long way. I don't have any concrete facts but, I would assume that the "crop farmers" are the ones the most to blame for it. The amount of non organic fertilizer these guys put on fields is way to much. Only a certain percent of that N is "plant available" thus the reason so much N is required to grow a good crop. The rest of the N that isnt "plant available" just leaches through the soil.

Putting requirements on farmers to be able to qualify for subsidies would be another. Example: No subsidies on crops that haven't been on a crop rotation. Many of these crop farmers just plant corn every year. There is a high demand for N to grow corn and they put it on by using urea or anhydrous ammonia. Legumes (mainly soybeans and alfalfa in our area) are able to take N out of the atmosphere which consists of dam near 80% of the air we breath and convert it into N for the next years crops to use. (technically its the Mycorrhizal Fungi living in the soil surrounding the plants root system that converts it to N but thats a story for another day)

Cover crops, No spreading manure on top of snow filled fields that are ready to melt and run into streams(although that does not have an impact on drinking water) the list goes on and on.

I just use a reverse osmosis system and not think about it when it comes to drinking water.

Dont forget about people that live in towns and golf courses. How green and weed free does your frickin yard have to be? That clover you pay to have someone kill is producing Nitrogen that your grass needs to grow and be that nice dark color that everyone cares about.
ALL VALID POINTS!

The bottom line, any AG chemical or fertilizers put in or on the ground will eventually end up in our ground water table. That is especially true in the Karst area ( fracture limestone) of SE MN and other areas within the Drift;less Region.

brntrout
Posts: 3150
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by brntrout »

Even if fertilizer and row crop acreage are reduced that does not mean nitrates would not enter into our ground water tables, but the rate of infiltration would probably be less than now.

Cutthroat
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by Cutthroat »

S.T.Fanatic wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:09 am
I'm all for taking measures for reduction in nitrates but they also need to be realistic.

Eliminating the ethanol mandate would go a long way. I don't have any concrete facts but, I would assume that the "crop farmers" are the ones the most to blame for it. The amount of non organic fertilizer these guys put on fields is way to much. Only a certain percent of that N is "plant available" thus the reason so much N is required to grow a good crop. The rest of the N that isnt "plant available" just leaches through the soil.

Putting requirements on farmers to be able to qualify for subsidies would be another. Example: No subsidies on crops that haven't been on a crop rotation. Many of these crop farmers just plant corn every year. There is a high demand for N to grow corn and they put it on by using urea or anhydrous ammonia. Legumes (mainly soybeans and alfalfa in our area) are able to take N out of the atmosphere which consists of dam near 80% of the air we breath and convert it into N for the next years crops to use. (technically its the Mycorrhizal Fungi living in the soil surrounding the plants root system that converts it to N but thats a story for another day)

Cover crops, No spreading manure on top of snow filled fields that are ready to melt and run into streams(although that does not have an impact on drinking water) the list goes on and on.

I just use a reverse osmosis system and not think about it when it comes to drinking water.

Dont forget about people that live in towns and golf courses. How green and weed free does your frickin yard have to be? That clover you pay to have someone kill is producing Nitrogen that your grass needs to grow and be that nice dark color that everyone cares about.


I agree.

S.T.Fanatic
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by S.T.Fanatic »

brntrout wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:00 am
Even if fertilizer and row crop acreage are reduced that does not mean nitrates would not enter into our ground water tables, but the rate of infiltration would probably be less than now.
There are plenty of non farmed legumes out there that are putting some N into the water table. Lets also not forget about the waste from wild birds and animals or the fact that precipitation also contains a small amount of N.

When it comes to agriculture there needs to be a widespread change in the "culture". We need to strive for a living root in the soil at all times throughout the year. In the case of "crop farmers" and northern climates it becomes more difficult but it isn't impossible.

Mandating certain things needing to be met in order to receive subsidies would change things pretty quick.
“What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works. What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?” Aldo Leopold

Cutthroat
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by Cutthroat »

Maintaining "living roots" in the soil should be a priority, and if farmers (or any other business) gets a taxpayer-funded subsidy, the public should get something in return.

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mcktrout
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 9:56 am

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by mcktrout »

Would buying “organic” encourage more crop rotation and thus lower nitrate and Neonicotinoid use?

Organic does not exclude improper manure practices, but does it reduce nitrates overall?

If farmers and regulators won’t improve ag-practices, would a market demand for organic over non-organic make a difference?

I don’t have any answers here, but I am willing to go exclusively organic and even boycott non organic to improve our surface and ground water.

S.T.Fanatic
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by S.T.Fanatic »

mcktrout wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:08 am
Would buying “organic” encourage more crop rotation and thus lower nitrate and Neonicotinoid use?

Organic does not exclude improper manure practices, but does it reduce nitrates overall?

If farmers and regulators won’t improve ag-practices, would a market demand for organic over non-organic make a difference?

I don’t have any answers here, but I am willing to go exclusively organic and even boycott non organic to improve our surface and ground water.
Unlikely. 40% of corn production goes to ethanol production. 36% goes to animal feed (it would be a hell of a lot higher than that if it was all organic because of decreased crop yields)
“What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works. What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?” Aldo Leopold

brntrout
Posts: 3150
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Nitrates in MN Wells

Post by brntrout »

I think the last 3 or 4 posts by ST Fanatic, Cutthroat and mcktrout are all on point.

The funny thing all this has been brought up many times for years, probably by tens thousands of conservationists all over this country. Yet, there has been no significant movement toward more conservation minded AG practices that would be meaningful.in protecting our precious ground water or our trout stream watershed Eco-systems. In reality AG practices are really getting worse particularly with the mandate for more ethanol being added (15%)to gasoline. One should not wonder "why" this is so, its BIG MONEY controlling political issues that allow them to make huge profits at the expense of our environment/clean water and air!

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