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Research article2006Peer reviewed

Nitrous oxide, methane and ammonia emissions following slurry spreading on grassland

Rodhe L, Pell M, Yamulki S


In Sweden, 90% of ammonia (NH3) emissions to the atmosphere originate from agriculture, predominantly from animal manure handling. It is well known that incorporation of manure into soil can reduce NH3 emissions after spreading. However, there is a risk of increased nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions caused by bacterial activity and limited oxygen availability under these conditions. A full-scale injector was developed and evaluated in a field experiment on grassland. Cattle slurry was either injected in closed slots 5 cm below ground or band spread on the soil surface above the crop canopy at a rate of 25 t ha(-1). In a control treatment, no slurry was applied. During a 5-day period after application, NH3 emissions were measured using an equilibrium concentration method. Gas samples for estimating CH4 and N2O emissions were also collected during 7 weeks following slurry application. Injection in closed slots resulted in no detectable NH3 emissions. After band spreading, however, NH3 emissions corresponded to nearly 40% of the total ammoniacal nitrogen in the applied slurry. The injection of slurry gave rise to a broad peak of N2O emissions during the first 3 weeks after application. In total, for the measuring period, N2O emissions corresponded to 0.75 kg N ha(-1). Band spreading resulted in only a very small N2O release of about 0.2 kg N ha(-1) during the same period. Except for the first sampling occasion, the soil was predominantly a sink for CH4 in all the treatments. The use of the injector without slurry application reduced grass yield during unfavourable growing conditions. In conclusion, shallow injection in closed slots seems to be a promising technique to reduce negative environmental impacts from NH3 emissions with a limited release of N2O and CH4

Published in

Soil Use and Management
2006, Volume: 22, number: 3, pages: 229-237

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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