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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Gases

Dairy Farm Effluent Effects on Urine Patch Nitrous Oxide and Carbon Dioxide Emissions


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 979-986
    Received: Sept 21, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): clought@lincoln.ac.nz
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  1. Tim J. Clough *a and
  2. Francis M. Kelliherb
  1. a Soil, Plant and Ecological Sciences Division, PO Box 84, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand
    b Landcare Research, PO Box 69, Lincoln Canterbury, New Zealand


Dairy farm effluent (DFE) comprises animal feces, urine, and wash-down water collected at the milking shed. This is collected daily during the milking season and sprayed onto grazed dairy pastures. Urine patches in grazed pastures make a significant contribution to anthropogenic N2O emissions. The DFE could potentially mitigate N2O emissions by influencing the N2O to dinitrogen (N2) ratio, since it contains water-soluble carbon (WSC). Alternatively, DFE may enhance N2O emissions from urine patches. The application of DFE may also provide a substrate for the production of CO2 in pasture soils. The effects of DFE on the CO2 and N2O emissions from urine patches are unknown. Thus a laboratory experiment was performed where repeated DFE applications were made to repacked soil cores. Dairy farm effluent was applied at 0, 7, or 14 d after urine deposition. The urine was applied once on Day 0. Urine contained 15N-enriched urea. Measurements of N2O, N2, and carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes, soil pH, and soil inorganic N concentrations were made. After 43 d the DFE had not mitigated N2O fluxes from urine patches. A small increase in the N2O flux occurred from the urine-treated soils where DFE was applied 1 wk after urine deposition. The amount of WSC applied in the DFE proved to be insignificant compared with the amount of soil C released as CO2 following urine application. The priming of soil C in urine patches has implications for the understanding of soil C processes in grazed pasture ecosystems and the budgeting of C within these ecosystems.

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