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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Pig Slurry Application and Irrigation Effects on Nitrate Leaching in Mediterranean Soil Lysimeters


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 6, p. 2290-2295
    Received: July 10, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): dquilez@aragon.es
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  1. A. Daudén,
  2. D. Quílez * and
  3. M. V. Vera
  1. Unidad de Suelos y Riegos, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón Apdo. 727, 50080-Zaragoza, Spain


Land application of animal manures, such as pig slurry (PS), is a common practice in intensive-farming agriculture. However, this practice has a pitfall consisting of the loss of nutrients, in particular nitrate, toward water courses. The objective of this study was to evaluate nitrate leaching for three application rates of pig slurry (50, 100, and 200 Mg ha−1) and a control treatment of mineral fertilizer (275 kg N ha−1) applied to corn grown in 10 drainage lysimeters. The effects of two irrigation regimes (low vs. high irrigation efficiency) were also analyzed. In the first two irrigation events, drainage NO3–N concentrations as high as 145 and 69 mg L−1 were measured in the high and moderate PS rate treatments, respectively, in the low irrigation efficiency treatments. This indicates the fast transformation of the PS ammonium into nitrate and the subsequent leaching of the transformed nitrate. Drainage NO3–N concentration and load increased linearly by 0.69 mg NO3–N L−1 and 4.6 kg NO3–N ha−1, respectively, for each 10 kg N ha−1 applied over the minimum of 275 kg N ha−1 An increase in irrigation efficiency did not induce a significant increase of leachate concentration and the amount of nitrate leached decreased about 65%. Application of low PS doses before sowing complemented with sidedressing N application and a good irrigation management are the key factors to reduce nitrate contamination of water courses.

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Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA