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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

An Approach for Estimating a Decay Series for Organic Nitrogen in Animal Manure


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 86 No. 5, p. 897-903
    Received: Oct 18, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Stuart D. Klausner ,
  2. V. Rao Kanneganti and
  3. David R. Bouldin
  1. Dep. of Soil, Crop, and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853



Animal manures are an important source of N for crop production. Efficient use of manure is necessary to increase N recycling, eliminate excessive purchase of fertilizer N, and reduce N loss to the environment. An estimate of the annual rate of organic N mineralization in manure is a necessary prerequisite to efficient manure N management. A mineralization or decay series for the organic N in dairy manure was estimated for corn (Zea mays L.) production from several field experiments over a 5- to 8-yr period. Four rates of sidedressed fertilizer N (0, 56, 112, and 224 kg N ha−1) were superimposed over several springapplied manure treatments ranging from 0 to 168 Mg ha−1 yr−1. Ammonia volatilization from manure was encouraged, to allow for an assessment of the fertilizer N equivalence of the more stable organic N fraction. Based on silage dry matter yield and N uptake, a decay series of 0.16, 0.10, 0.03, 0.03 and 0.02, and 0.21, 0.09, 0.03, 0.03 and 0.02, respectively, described the fertilizer N equivalence of organic N. The first number in the decay series estimates the fraction of organic N that is available for crop use during the year of application, and the second to fifth numbers are estimates of available N from residual N in Years 2 through 5. An independent set of field data was used to evaluate the accuracy of the decay series. The predicted decay series, based on dry matter yield (R2 = 0.16) was more variable than the corresponding decay series based on N uptake (R2 = 0.72). The non-N effects of manure were insignificant, and therefore yield and N uptake were directly related to the N contribution.

Research supported by the New York State Agric. Exp. Stn., USDAARS, and the Northern New York Agric. Development Program.

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