Nitrate Leaching Potential for Drip Irrigated Cauliflower

• Nitrate (NO3) contamination of groundwater is a significant unresolved environmental issue worldwide. Any Nitrogen (N) fertilizers not taken up by shallow rooted vegetable crops with high demand for N, such as Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea), can leach to the groundwater. Hence, in adopting a preventative strategy to mitigate nitrate contamination of groundwater it is critical to determine and control the amount of nitrate below the root zone by implementing strategies that optimize crop yield while minimizing the soil nitrate leaching index (LI).
• When combined with the appropriate fertilizers, surface drip irrigation can be a useful tool to help mitigate the nitrate leaching potential of a cauliflower crop.