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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Distribution and Mineralization of Biosolids Nitrogen Applied to Dryland Wheat


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 4, p. 796-801
    Received: July 31, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): kbarbari@ceres.agsci.colostate.edu
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  1. K. A. Barbarick *,
  2. J. A. Ippolito and
  3. D. G. Westfall
  1. Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523.



The greatest challenge in land application of biosolids (sewage sludge) for beneficial use is predicting N-mineralization rates so that managers can amend the soil with an agronomic rate of material. We used 11 yr of field-study information from biosolids addition to dryland hard-red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ‘Vona’ or ‘TAM107’) to determine not only the distribution of applied N but also to estimate net N mineralization rates. This study is unique since it involves multiple biosolids application in a dryland summer fallow agroecosystem. We applied five or six applications of biosolids from the cities of Littleton and Englewood, CO (L/E) to Weld loam (Aridic Paleustoll) or Platner loam (Abruptic Aridic Paleustoll) at four locations. This paper focuses on the O (control) and the 56- or 67-kg N ha−1 fertilizer rate, and the 6.7 and 26.8 dry Mg biosolids ha−1 rates that we added every crop year. The 6.7 dry Mg biosolids ha−1 treatment resulted in the following average N distributions: 54% soil residual, 9% grain removal, and 38% unaccounted. At the larger application rate of 26.8 dry Mg biosolids ha−1 treatment, we found the following average N distributions: 35% soil residual, 2% grain removal, and 63% unaccounted. We estimated a net mineralization of 25 to 57% and a first-year N net mineralization of 13 to 43% for 6.7 dry Mg ha−1 and a net mineralization of 62 to 78% and a first-year N net mineralization of 41 to 67% for 26.8 dry Mg ha−1.

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