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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Submissions: Novel Manure Management Techniques in No-Till and Forage Systems

Ammonia Volatilization from Surface-Banded and Broadcast Application of Liquid Dairy Manure on Grass Forage


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 374-382
    Received: Mar 9, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): bill.jokela@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Paul D. Pflukea,
  2. William E. Jokela *b and
  3. Sidney C. Bosworthc
  1. a Green Oaks Creek Farm, 2060 Green Oaks Way, Pescadero, CA 94060
    b USDA–ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 2615 East 29th St., Marshfield, WI 54449
    c Plant and Soil Science Dep., Univ. of Vermont, 63 Carrigan Dr., Burlington, VT 05405. Assigned to Associate Editor Soren O. Petersen


Manure can provide valuable nutrients, especially N, for grass forage, but high NH3 volatilization losses from standard surface-broadcast application limits N availability and raises environmental concerns. Eight field trials were conducted to evaluate the emission of NH3 from liquid dairy manure, either surface broadcast or applied in narrow surface bands with a trailing-foot implement. Manure was applied using both techniques at rates of approximately 25 and 50 m3 ha−1 on either orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) on a well-drained silt loam or reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) on a somewhat poorly drained clay soil. Ammonia emission was measured with a dynamic chamber/equilibrium concentration technique. High NH3 emission rates in broadcast treatments, especially at the high rate (2 to 13 kg ha−1 h−1), occurred during the first few hours after spreading, followed by a rapid reduction to low levels (<0.5 kg ha−1 h−1 in most cases) by 24 h after spreading and in subsequent days. Band treatments often followed the same pattern but with initial rates substantially lower and with a less dramatic decrease over time. Total estimated NH3 losses from broadcast application, as a percent of total ammoniacal N (TAN) applied, averaged 39% (range of 20 to 59%) from the high manure rate and 25% (range of 9 to 52%) from the low rate. Band spreading reduced total NH3 losses by an average of 52 and 29% for the high and low manure rates, respectively. Results show that the trailing-foot band application method can reduce NH3 losses and conserve N for perennial forage production.

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