01020304050Nitrogen leached from soil in New ZealandBy component, 1990–2012, millions of kilograms per yearProvider: Ministry for the Environment199019921994199619982000200220042006200820102012Dairy cattleSheepNitrogen fertiliserBeef cattleOther livestock

Nitrogen leached from soil in New Zealand

By component, 1990–2012, millions of kilograms per year


Nitrogen leachate is defined as the mass of nitrogen drained through the soil and below the plant root zone. Typically, nitrogen leachate is in the form of nitrate, which drains away easily through soil compared with other forms of nitrogen. As it leaves the plant root zone, nitrate can enter groundwater, eventually feeding into rivers, streams, lakes, and, ultimately, the sea.

Data provided by

Ministry for the Environment

Dataset name

Environmental Reporting: Nitrogen leached from soil 1990–2012



How to find the data

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Import & extraction details

File as imported: Environmental Reporting: Nitrogen leached from soil 1990–2012

From the dataset Environmental Reporting: Nitrogen leached from soil 1990–2012, this data was extracted:

  • Rows: 2-139
  • Column: 3
  • Provided: 138 data points

This data forms the table Environment - Nitrogen leached from soil by component 1990–2012.

Dataset originally released on:

September 29, 2015

Method of collection/Data provider

The data provider assumes 7 percent of the nitrogen applied nationally is lost as leachate. This is based on the New Zealand-specific value adopted for greenhouse gas reporting (Ministry for the Environment, 2014; Thomas et al, 2005).
Estimates of livestock’s contribution of nitrogen to the soil are based on modelled livestock productivity and nitrogen-excretion characteristics for dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, and deer. Other livestock sources include goats, horses, and swine. Animal population numbers are derived from Statistics New Zealand’s Agricultural Production Survey.
The amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied to soils is estimated from Fertiliser Association of New Zealand sales records.