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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 22 No. 1, p. 38-42
    Received: Dec 6, 1956
    Accepted: Sept 12, 1957

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The Retention and Reactions of Anhydrous Ammonia on Different Soil Types1

  1. L. L. McDowell and
  2. G. E. Smith2



Soil texture had a pronounced effect on ammonia movement and retention. The greatest movement of ammonia occurred in the sand and silt loam soils; and the least movement in the clay. The loss of ammonia from the airdry, acid sandy soil at a 6-inch depth of application was 44 times the loss from the calcareous clay soil receiving ammonia at comparable moisture and depth. The retentive capacity of a soil for ammonia increased greatly as the texture became heavier. The loss of ammonia from the air-dry, calcareous clay soil was negligible even at the 3-inch depth of application. A considerable portion of the nitrogen applied as anhydrous ammonia was lost to the atmosphere or was fixed in some form making it non-extractable by the chemical analysis used. The amount of ammonia fixed increased with the greater clay content of the soil.

The presence of high concentrations of ammonia in a localized area resulted in the partial breakdown of the soil organic matter. As a result of nitrification and the subsequent increase in hydrogen-ion concentration this condition was no longer observed at the end of 4 weeks of incubation.

Ammonia losses were reduced considerably when the application was changed from 40-inch to 16-inch spacings and the rate applied per acre was maintained a constant.

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