Sodium accumulation vs. nitrate leaching under different fertigation regimes in greenhouse soils in South Uruguay


  • Cecilia Berrueta Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), Estación Experimental Salto Grande, Sistema Vegetal Intensivo, Salto, Uruguay
  • Claudio García Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), Estación Experimental Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, Sistema Vegetal Intensivo, Canelones, Uruguay
  • Rafael Grasso Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), Estación Experimental Salto Grande, Sistema Vegetal Intensivo, Salto, Uruguay



irrigation, deep percolation, nutrient use efficiency, soil salinity, Solanum lycopersicum


In greenhouse conditions, soil salinity and N leaching depend on the provision of irrigation, the irrigation water quality and the application of fertilizers and organic amendments. The objective of this study was to quantify and analyze the accumulation and/or leaching process of NO3- and Na+ in greenhouse tomato production in the south region of Uruguay in fine-textured soil under different fertigation regimes. The study was conducted in four tomato crops during 2019/20/21 seasons. Three fertigation regimes were applied. Irrigation volume was the same for all treatments. Drainage was determined by using free drainage lysimeters. Concentration in soil solution and leaching of NO3- and Na+ was measured by monitoring soil solution and drainage solution. Yield, N uptake and N utilization efficiency were determined for each treatment. Soil total drainage was the main factor explaining N and Na+ leaching. The leaching of N ranges from 0 to 23.4 kg N ha-1 per tomato crop with total drainage between 0 and 46.2 % of total irrigation. Drainage necessary to avoid Na+ accumulation was 13 % of total irrigation. This drainage produced 8.4 kg of N leaching per ha-1 during tomato cropping period. Optimizing irrigation is the key factor to the salinity-nitrogen leaching paradox. Irrigation amount and timing should attempt: (1) to avoid excessive irrigation when NO3- concentration in soil solution is high, and (2) to apply leaching irrigation when Na+ concentration in soil solution is high. Soil solution monitoring with suction probes and rapid chemical analysis systems could be a useful tool to identify periods of high risk of N leaching and the right time for leaching irrigation.


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How to Cite

Berrueta C, García C, Grasso R. Sodium accumulation vs. nitrate leaching under different fertigation regimes in greenhouse soils in South Uruguay. Agrocienc Urug [Internet]. 2024 Feb. 6 [cited 2024 Jun. 14];27(NE1):e1189. Available from:



Irrigation and water management
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