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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Gases

Application Technique and Slurry Co-Fermentation Effects on Ammonia, Nitrous Oxide, and Methane Emissions after Spreading


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 6, p. 1789-1794
    Received: Oct 29, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): se.wulf@uni-bonn.de
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  1. S. Wulf *,
  2. M. Maeting and
  3. J. Clemens
  1. Institute of Plant Nutrition, University of Bonn, Karlrobert-Kreiten-Str. 13, 53115 Bonn, Germany


Ammonia emissions after spreading animal manure contribute a major share to N losses from agriculture. There is an increasing interest in anaerobic co-digestion of liquid manure with organic additives. This fermentation results in a change of physical and chemical parameters of the slurry. Among these are an increased pH and ammonium content, implying a higher risk of NH3 losses from fermentation products. To compare different application techniques and the effect of fermentation on NH3 volatilization, we used the standard comparison method and tested it for reliability. This method seems to be perfectly suited for experiments with a large number of treatments and replicates if prerequisites concerning the experimental layout are considered. We tested four different application techniques on arable and grassland sites. The more the substrate was incorporated into the soil or applied near the soil surface on the grassland site, the less NH3 was lost. Injection of the substrate reduced losses to less than 10% of applied NH+ 4 on both sites, whereas losses after splash plate application amounted to more than 30%. Trail shoe application on grassland performed as well as injection. Harrowing on arable land also reduced emissions efficiently, if harrowing occurred within the first 2 h after application. Emissions from trail hose–applied co-fermentation product were not greater than from unfermented slurry. Better infiltration of the less viscous substrate seemed to have compensated for the increased loss potential.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1789–1794.