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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Nitrous Oxide Fluxes from Manure-Amended Soil under Maize


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 6, p. 1371-1377
    Received: Oct 4, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): rochettep@em.agr.ca
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  1. R. Lessard,
  2. P. Rochette *,
  3. E. G. Gregorich,
  4. E. Pattey and
  5. R. L. Desjardins
  1. Eastern Cereals and Oilseeds Res. Centre, Res. Branch, Agric. and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6.



Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions by agricultural soils are influenced by farming practices. The application of manure to cultivated land modifies soil microbial activity by supplying additional quantities of C and N and changing soil physical and chemical properties. Nitrous oxide fluxes at the surface of a soil under maize (Zea mays L.) amended with dairy cattle manure were measured from April to October 1993 using closed chambers. The manure application rates were 0, 56, and 112 Mg ha−1 corresponding to 0, 170, and 339 kg ha−1 of total N, respectively. Nitrate and NH+4 were measured in soil samples obtained at the same time that gas flux measurements were made. Nitrous oxide concentrations in the soil profile were quantified by sampling soil air at depths of 5 and 15 cm using stationary air probes. On the manured plots 67% of the total N2O emitted during the growing season occurred during the first 7 wk following manure application. Fluxes of N2O occurred in episodes with maxima that ranged from 0.070 mg m−2 h−1 on the soil without manure amendment to 0.171 and 0.494 mg m−2 h−1 on soils that had received the low and high rates of manure, respectively. These high fluxes coincided with periods when NO3-N levels and soil water contents were relatively high. Fluxes were highest the first day after manure application and returned to near pre-application levels 7 d later. This episode was followed by short-lived peaks of N2O flux that usually followed periods of rain. The absence of a strong correlation between N2O concentration in the soil profile and N2O flux at the soil surface suggested that high soil water content restricted gaseous diffusion in the soil and/or that a variable part of the N2O produced via denitrification was reduced to N2. The accumulated N2O-N emissions at the soil surface of the manured plots over the snow-free season amounted to 1% of the manure N that was potentially mineralizable during the experiment.

Contribution 95-85.

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