Streamwater nitrate concentrations in six agricultural catchments in Scotland

Hooda, P.S., Moynagh, M., Svoboda, I.F., Thurlow, M., Stewart, M., Thomson, M. and Anderson, H.A. (1997) Streamwater nitrate concentrations in six agricultural catchments in Scotland. Science of the Total Environment, 201(1), pp. 63-78. ISSN (print) 0048-9697


The concentrations of nitrate-N (NO3-N) in catchment inputs and outputs have been compared and contrasted between 6 farm catchments in Scotland, 3 in the West and 3 in the North-East. Forms of intensive animal farming ranging between beef and dairy cattle, sheep and poultry give different sources for potential NO3-N leakage from the systems. While stream reaches bordered by intensive cereal production give rise to the largest inputs to surface waters, climatic influences result in the more-efficient use of fertilizer- and farm waste-N in the West, and an enhanced potential for N-loss to waters in the cooler North-East, regardless of the N-inputs being considerably lower in the latter region. Although the EC Nitrate Directive limit of 11.3 mg NO3-N 1(-1) was not exceeded, peak values occurring during summer baseflows and autumn soil rewetting were commonly larger than the 'target' maximum concentration of 5.65 mg NO3-N 1-1.

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