Nitrate in Drinking Water

A water bottle being filled at a sink faucet

Historical and current water quality monitoring shows that nitrate is present in groundwater throughout much of Nebraska. It is when results are at or above the 10mg/L Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) that hazardous health effects become a concern among humans and animals. Nitrate is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and the only way it can be detected in drinking water is through submitting a sample for laboratory testing. 

Where Does Nitrate Come From and What is Nitrification?

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Nitrate in Nebraska

From increased water bills to closed lakes to tainted drinking water, high nitrate levels are affecting thousands of Nebraskans.

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Scheduling the Last Irrigation of the Season

Irrigation Center Pivot

What a year 2020 has been. After a year of record flooding over much of the state, we are now in various stages of drought. With limited rainfall over most of the state this year and fairly extended hot, dry periods, many irrigators may be wondering when is the irrigation season going to end?  With the price of grain, it is also worth considering do I need to apply that last inch or two of water to get that last bushel or two?

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Now is the Time of Year to Check Pivot Performance

center pivot

Derek M. Heeren1, Associate Professor and Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow

Steven R. Melvin2, Extension Educator

Aaron Nygren3, Associate Extension Educator

Eric Wilkening1, Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

1 Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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What Are the Barriers and Benefits of Manure Use in Cropping Systems? (part 2 of 2)

During winter of 2020, 957 farmers and their advisors shared their perspective on the benefits and barriers to manure use. A previous article (part 1)  focused on perceptions of manure’s benefits. This article (part 2) focuses on their perceptions of manure’s challenges that commonly become barriers to manure use in some fields and discusses strategies for preventing manure from becoming a “pain in the assets”.
Animal manures can be a valuable asset or a “pain in the assets”. During winter of 2020, 957 farmers and their advisors shared their perspective on the benefits and barriers to manure use. A previous article (part 1) focused on perceptions of manure’s benefits. This article (part 2) focuses on their perceptions of manure’s challenges that commonly become barriers to manure use in some fields and discusses strategies for preventing manure from becoming a “pain in the assets”.

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Summer Patio Planter Care

Container Garden

In summer, it’s easy to forget about the needs of patio planters and houseplants moved outside for the summer.  There are 5 areas to focus on to keep them thriving, beginning with watering. 

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Water productivity in meat and milk production in the US (Part II)

graph of increases in water productivity of different animal products by partial replacement of corn and soybeans with distillers’ grains
Growth in the livestock sector has a lot of potential to benefit Nebraska economically, however it can also have negative impacts on our natural resources. To address some of these environmental impacts, the sector has been working hard to improve livestock water productivity. Recently, scientists at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the Department of Animal Science of the University of Nebraska, together with colleagues from the University of Twente, and the National University of Singapore worked together to estimate the changes in water productivity of animal products from 1960 to 2016.

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Water productivity in meat and milk production in the US from 1960 to 2016 (Part I)

graphs comparing livestock production to 1960 levels
Livestock production plays an important role in rural and urban economies worldwide and is a significant source of protein in humans’ diet. However, the growth of the livestock sector can have negative impacts on our natural resources; fresh water consumption, water quality deterioration due to manure nutrient losses to surface water, greenhouse gas emissions, and competition for human-edible grains are all possible consequences of food animal production. To address some of these environmental impacts of livestock production, the sector has been working hard to improve livestock productivity, feed-use efficiency of animals, crop productivity and efficiency of resource utilization in the field, and expanding the sourcing of feeds.

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Transforming manure from 'Waste' to 'Worth' in rural Nebraska

Cattle slurry application
The misconception about manure being just a waste and harmful biproduct of the cattle and livestock industry is still a big concern. A group of researchers and extension educators have joined efforts with farmers across Nebraska to find the value of manure as a source of nutrients in crop fields in the Sandhills and reduce the environmental impacts caused by this industry. At the same time, they are trying to incorporate residues from red cedar trees that are currently threatening the Nebraskan wildlife and ecosystems due to its rapid expansion.

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Smart Summer Watering

Garden Sprinkler

Photo above of Oscillating sprinklers, they are one of the least efficient ways to water a landscape, due to the amount of water lost to evaporation.

Smart Techniques Conserve Water in Your Yard

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