Nitrogen In the Environment

As all farmers know, nitrogen is essential for healthy crops.  Fortunately, nitrogen is plentiful and ubiquitous; in fact, 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen.  However, atmospheric nitrogen exists as an inert gas and, therefore, cannot be used by plants; the nitrogen must be “fixed” in a different form.  In the inorganic forms, they are available as ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) ions so the plants can uptake the nitrogen.  Since the nitrate ion is negatively charged and soil colloids are negatively charged, nitrate is not bound, but is mobile and can, therefore, be problematic if it reaches surface water in excess.

So what’s your point, nitrogen nerd?

The point is, this mobile version of nitrogen as nitrate has the attention of the regulators.  And as evidenced by some rather high-profile agricultural enforcement cases, there is reason to be concerned about how these cases may impact agriculture.

Webinar: How to investigate nitrates in groundwater

So, with this as a background, Dragun Corporation recently conducted a webinar for National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), Investigating Nitrates In Groundwater:  Whose Problem Is It Anyway?  In this presentation, Dr. Michael Sklash discussed how nitrate moves (or doesn’t move in surface water and groundwater).  More importantly, Dr. Sklash’s discussion will help you to understand how a defendable nitrate investigation should be done.

You can view this video below or follow this link to NMPF’s YouTube Page.

If you have specific questions for Dr. Sklash, you can reach him at 248-932-0228, ext. 120, or by email at