Hans Olav Eggestad

Senior Research Scientist

(+47) 924 49 405

Ås O43

Visiting address
Oluf Thesens vei 43, 1433 Ås


Livestock husbandry has raised enormous environmental concerns around the world, including water quality issues. Yet there is a need to document long-term water quality trends in livestock-intensive regions and reveal the drivers for the trends based on detailed catchment monitoring. Here, we assessed the concentration and load trends of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in streamwater of a livestock-intensive catchment in southwestern Norway, based on continuous flow measurements and flow-proportional composite water sampling. Precipitation and catchment-level soil P balance were monitored to examine the drivers. At the field level, moreover, the relationship between soil P balance and soil test P (measured using the ammonium lactate extraction method, P-AL) was assessed. Results showed that on average of 20 years 95 % of the P was applied to the catchment during March–August, when 40 % of annual precipitation and 25 % of annual discharge occurred. The low runoff helped reduce P loss following P applications. However, flow-weighted annual mean DRP concentration significantly increased with increasingly cumulative soil P surplus (R2 = 0.55, p = 0.0002). With a mean annual P surplus of 8.8 kg ha−1, the annual mean DRP concentration (range: 49–140 μg L−1; mean: 80 μg L−1) and annual DRP load (range: 0.35–1.46 kg ha−1; mean: 0.65 kg ha−1) significantly increased over the 20-year monitoring period (p = 0.001 and 0.0003, respectively). At the field level, P-AL concentrations were positively correlated with soil P balances (R2 = 0.48, p < 0.0001), confirming the long-term impact of P balances on the risks of P loss. The study highlights the predominant role of long-term P balances in affecting DRP loss in livestock-intensive regions through the effect on soil test P.


The current IPCC guidelines define an estimate for the fraction of mineral fertilizer and animal waste (manure) lost to leaching and runoff (FracLEACH). The FracLEACH default is 30 %. In Norway, 18 % has been used based on calculations made in 1998 (Vagstad et al., 1998). The main purpose of this study was to give an updated estimate of nitrogen (N) leaching in relation to the amounts of N applied in agriculture (FracLEACH). The term losses in this report include both surface and subsurface runoff. The estimates of FracLEACH presented in this report were based on data from the Agricultural Environmental monitoring program (JOVA). The JOVA-program includes catchment and field study sites representing typical situations in Norwegian agriculture with regard to production system, management, intensity, soil, landscape, region and climate. Data from plot- scale study sites confirmed the level of N leaching from the agricultural areas within the JOVA catchments. The overall FracLEACH estimated in this study was 22 % of the N applied. This average covers a variation between sites from 16 % on grassland in Valdres to 44 % in intensive vegetable, potato and cereal production areas in the southernmost part of Norway. Runoff is the most significant parameter for the difference in FracLEACH between catchments. In addition, production system and to some degree soil type are important for FracLEACH. It is thus suggested to use different FracLEACH-values for the different production systems and adjust FracLEACH according to average runoff for the region.


Nutrient losses from agricultural catchments in Norway have been monitored since 1992 as part of the Norwegian Agricultural Environmental Monitoring Programme (JOVA). The catchments are at locations which are chosen to represent typical Norwegian agricultural systems such as the production of cereals, grass/livestock and vegetables. Losses are reported annually.