Ammonia Transport in a Temperate Grassland: I. Seasonal Transport in Relation to Soil Fertility and Crop Management
- Lowry A. Harper ,
- D. Wim Bussink,
- Hugo G. van der Meer and
- Wim J. Corré
- U SDA-ARS, Southern Piedmont Conservation Res. Ctr., 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
N utrient Mgt. Inst. (NMI), Runderweg 6, 8219 PK Lelystad, Netherlands
R es. Inst. for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (AB-DLO), Postbus 14, 6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands
( formerly Univ. of Utrecht), AB-DLO, Postbus 129, 9750 AC Haren, Netherlands
An understanding of N cycling in agricultural systems is necessary to optimize N-use efficiency and reduce N losses to the environment. The objectives of this research were to evaluate N cycling in a highly fertilized grassland in a humid temperate climate and to observe the effects of N surplus and deficit on NH3 absorption-desorption by the grass. Soil, plant, and weather measurementws ere taken concurrently and soil-plant-atmosphere N transport were determined. After N application, soil inorganic N decreased rapidly to background levels, due to possible microbial immobilization and plant N demand. Much of the immobilized N was remobilized during the growth period, but at insufficient rates to avoid N stress by the crop, as shown by absorption of NH3. During spring, 45% of the plant N was derived from applied fertilizer, with the balance obtained from mineralized organic N (49%) and absorption of NH3 (6%). During summer, fertilizer accounted for 60% of accumulated grass N and NH3 absorption accounted for 11% of N not derived from fertilizer (4% of the total N), with the balance coming from mineralized organic N. Soil water content and wind speed were the dominant factors influencing the crop NH3 compensation point (CP). The daily NH3 CP was variable, but the average seasonal NH3 CP was about 14 μg m−3.
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