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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 3, p. 1064-1070
    Received: July 7, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): jroygard@vt.edu
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Tree Species for Recovering Nitrogen from Dairy-Farm Effluent in New Zealand

  1. Jon K.F. Roygard *,
  2. Brent E. Clothier,
  3. Steve R. Green and
  4. Nanthi S. Bolan
  1. Institute of Natural Resources, Massey Univ., Palmerston North, New Zealand


Land treatment of dairy-farm effluent is being widely adopted as an alternative to disposal into surface waters in New Zealand. This study investigated water balances and associated N leaching from short-rotation forest (SRF) species irrigated with dairy-farm effluent. Single trees were grown in lysimeters filled with Manawatu fine sandy loam (mixed mesic Dystric Eutrochrept). Dairy-farm effluent was applied during two irrigation periods at 21.5 mm wk−1 with a total loading equivalent to 870 kg N ha−1 occurring over 17 mo. Following tree harvest in April 1997, measurements continued until August 1997 to monitor tree reestablishment. Cumulative N leached did not differ between lysimeters in which evergreen Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna Sm.) and shining gum [Eucalyptus nitens (H. Deane & Maiden) Maiden] and deciduous kinu-yanagi (Salix kinuyanagi Kimura) were grown. Leachate N concentrations of all treatments were on average higher than the New Zealand drinking water standard of 11.3 mg N L−1 The E. nitens and S. kinuyanagi treatments leached 33 and 35 kg N ha−1 yr−1 in 1996 following application of 236 kg N ha−1 during the first irrigation season. Leaf area was strongly correlated to evapotranspiration, drainage volume, and nitrogen leached. The majority of leaching in the tree treatments occurred after harvest. Reducing the leaching in the regrowth phase may be achieved through timing harvest in the spring when growth rates are higher and leaching potential is lower. Based on N uptake rates observed in this study and average pond discharge, a plantation of 5.4 ha would be required for N recovery on a typical dairy farm in New Zealand.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:1064–1070.