Hydrology and nitrogen components of a simple Rye growth model

Gary W. Feyereisen, Gary R Sands, Jeffrey S. Strock, Bruce N Wilson, Paul M Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cover cropping practices are being researched to reduce artificial subsurface drainage nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate-N) losses from agricultural lands in the upper Mississippi watershed. A soil-plant-atmosphere simulation model, RyeGro, was developed to quantify the influence of a winter cereal rye cover crop on nitrate-N losses given climatic variability in the region. This paper describes the hydrology and nitrogen cycle submodels of RyeGro, which was developed with a low level of complexity and conceptualizes the soil profile as three soil layers. The model was calibrated with data from a three-year rye cover crop field study conducted at Lamberton, Minnesota, and validated with data from a previous study. During model calibration, field subsurface drainage nitrate-N loadings were predicted within 0.2, 0, and 1.6 kg N ha-1 (1, 0, and -3%) of measured loadings for the corn-soybean treatment and within 1.2, 0, and 1.6 kg N ha-1 (11, 0, and 3%) of measured loadings for the corn-rye-soybean treatment. The model validation showed nitrate-N loading differences of 7 and 1kgNha-1 (-22 and 4%) for the two years tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Agriculture
  • Computer models
  • Crops
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrogen
  • Nutrient loads
  • Soil water storage
  • Subsurface drainage


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