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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

On-farm Measurement of Electrical Conductivity for the Estimation of Ammonium Nitrogen Concentration in Pig Slurry


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 3, p. 893-900
    Received: Sept 25, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): mryaguue@aragon.es
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  1. M. R. Yagüe * and
  2. D. Quílez
  1. Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (Unidad asociada a EEAD-CSIC), Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Gobierno de Aragón, Avda. Montañana 930, 50059, Zaragoza, Spain. Assigned to Associate Editor Katherine Knowlton


Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) slurry (PS) is commonly applied as fertilizer to agricultural fields. Knowledge of PS nitrogen content is essential for good management, but PS nitrogen content is highly variable, not only between farms but also within a farm. Laboratory analysis of animal slurries is often expensive and impractical for routine farmer use. Therefore, when slurry is spread on land, its fertilizer value is generally unknown, resulting in the risk of pollution. In this work, two rapid and suitable for field use methods for determining PS ammonium N (NH4+–N) concentration (Quantofix and conductimetry) are evaluated. The electrical conductivity of a dilution 1 PS:9 distilled water had better results than Quantofix, did not need reagents, and gave a direct value of NH4+–N concentrations (range, 1.0–7.6 kg NH4+–N m−3). The conductimetry method allows the use of alternative waters with EC <1.9 dS m−1 for dilution. This method is being introduced to farmers in northeast Spain to improve PS management and has been well received due to its low cost and ease of use.

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