Nitrate Northern Burgenland II

Soil water balance monitoring sites were established on the Parndorf Plateau to determine the nitrate contamination of groundwater under local conventional and organic management.

In addition, monitoring sites were established under perennial revegetation with varying percentages of legumes to investigate the effects of revegetation turnover with respect to nitrogen leaching to groundwater.


Project processing:
A. Eder, A. Scheidl

Province of Burgenland;
Federal Ministry of Austria Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management

Brief description:

A reduction of the nitrate load of the groundwater in the project region Northern Burgenland is based on the fact that it is too high compared to valid guideline and limit values. In order to comply with the specified values (50 mg NO3-l-1), this means that with predominant groundwater recharge from precipitation infiltration, a nitrogen balance must be achieved over the entire area that complies with the required concentration values, taking into account the regional groundwater recharge (solvent for nitrogen load).

In the project 'Nitrate Northern Burgenland I', the rotational management of alfalfa and its impact on leachate quality was already investigated. The average nitrate concentrations in the leachate in the period 2011 - 2015 were with about 100 mg NO3·l-1 clearly above the drinking water limit value of 50 mg NO3·l-1. With the investigated variants on different tillage (plow, cultivator), turning time (late, early) and intercropping the desired reduction of the nitrate content in the leachate could not be achieved.

In the follow-up project 'Nitrate Northern Burgenland II', new concepts for the reduction of nitrate pollution are to be developed and investigated. The cultivation and subsequent ploughing of perennial vegetation will be essential, especially on organic farms. Currently, the nitrate discharge into the groundwater is being investigated for the ÖPUL greening variants 'AG-area', 'soil recovery area' and 'biodiversity area'. The greening variants differ in their share of nitrogen-fixing legumes.

The main objective is a groundwater-compatible management taking into account the monetary losses for the farmer. From this, new ÖPUL variants, adapted for the arid region in the east of Austria, can be developed.

The abbreviation ÖPUL stands for "Austrian Program for Environmentally Sound Agriculture", translated from German "Österreichisches Programm für umweltgerechte Landwirtschaft".