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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING DAIRY FORAGE AND MANURE MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL RISK Title: Ammonia volatilization from surface-banded and broadcast application of liquid dairy manure on grass forage

Authors
item Pfluke, Paul -
item Jokela, William
item Bosworth, Sidney -

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 22, 2010
Publication Date: December 8, 2010
Citation: Pfluke, P.D., Jokela, W.E., Bosworth, S.C. 2010. Ammonia volatilization from surface-banded and broadcast application of liquid dairy manure on grass forage. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40:374-382.

Interpretive Summary: Manure can provide valuable nutrients, especially nitrogen (N), for grass forage, but N availability is limited because of high volatilization losses of ammonia-N from standard surface-broadcast application. We conducted eight field trials to evaluate the emission of ammonia from liquid dairy manure either surface broadcast or applied to the surface in narrow bands (below vegetative growth) with a trailing-foot implement. Manure was applied by both techniques at rates of approximately 3,000 and 6,000 gal/acre on either orchardgrass on a well drained silt loam soil or reed canarygrass on a somewhat poorly drained clay soil. High ammonia loss rates in broadcast treatments, especially at the high manure rate, occurred during the first few hours after spreading, followed by a rapid reduction to low levels by 24 hours 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. Estimated total ammonia losses averaged 39% of the manure ammonium-N applied with the high manure rate and 25% with the low rate. Band spreading reduced total ammonia losses by an average of 52% for the high manure rate and 29% for the low manure rate. Results of this research show that the trailing-foot band application method can reduce ammonia losses from manure compared to conventional broadcast application. This conserves nitrogen for use in grass forage production and lowers the need for purchased fertilizer N.

Technical Abstract: Manure can provide valuable nutrients, especially N, for grass forage, but N availability is limited because of high NH3 volatilization losses from standard surface-broadcast application. Eight field trials were conducted to evaluate the emission of NH3 from liquid dairy manure either surface broadcast or applied in narrow bands with a trailing-foot implement. Manure was applied by 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 rate reduction to low levels by 24 h after spreading (<0.5 kg ha-1 h-1 in most cases) 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, as % of NH4-N applied, averaged 39% (20 to 59%) from the high manure rate and 25% (9 to 52%) from the low rate. Band spreading reduced total NH3 losses by an average of 52 and 29% in the high and low manure rates. Results show that the trailing-foot band application method can reduce NH3 losses and conserve N for perennial forage production.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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