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Strategies to improve crop recovery of swine manure nitrogen



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Intensive swine operations produce large amounts of manure that must be dealt with responsibly. Liquid swine manure (LSM) collected in storage units is applied to cropland as a nutrient source. Maximizing crop utilization of the nitrogen (N) added in manure is important to achieve economic and environmental benefits. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the effect of 1) adding a nitrification inhibitor and 2) using supplemental phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) fertilizers as means of enhancing crop recovery of LSM-N.Field experiments were conducted at two long-term manure management sites in Saskatchewan; 1) Dixon (Black Chernozem) and 2) Melfort (Dark Grey Luvisol). At the Dixon site, plant and soil samples were collected throughout the 2005 and 2006 growing season, and ammonium-N (NH4+-N) and nitrate-N (NO3--N) concentration in soil, and total N content in plant were measured. Plant root simulator (PRSTM) probes were used to measure NH4+-N and NO3--N supply rates at the Dixon site to determine the effectiveness of a nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) added to LSM. Crop recovery of N applied through LSM application was assessed by measuring seed and straw yield and total N content. The effect of adding supplemental P fertilizer at 6.5 kg P ha-1 to swine manure amended soil on N recovery was also evaluated at the Dixon site. At the S deficient Melfort site, the effect of supplemental S fertilizer added at 40 kg S ha-1 as ammonium sulfate and elemental S was evaluated.The addition of DCD (0.275 mL kg-1) to LSM in 2005 and 2006 at Dixon did not significantly affect the proportion of LSM-N recovered or the seed yield. However, measurements of available NH4+-N and NO3--N concentrations and supply rates at the beginning of the growing season in 2005 indicated that the nitrification inhibitor was effective in keeping more of the LSM-N in the NH4+ form for approximately 14 days after LSM application. The addition of supplemental P fertilizer to plots fertilized with LSM at the Dixon site, generally did not produce any significant increase in crop N recovery or seed yield. However, increase in crop N recovery and seed yield in 100 kg N ha-1 urea treatments indicates that there was insufficient P available in the soils to maximize crop N recovery and seed yield. It appears that LSM is able to provide sufficient amounts of available P when applied annually at rates of 37,000 L ha-1 or higher. At the Melfort site, the addition of supplemental S fertilizer did not significantly affect crop N recovery or seed yield in LSM treatments. Annual applications of the low rate of LSM of 37,000 L ha-1 supplied sufficient amounts of N and S to maximize seed yield and crop N recovery. However, large significant increases in seed yield and crop N recovery with supplemental S fertilizers were observed in the 80 kg N ha-1 urea treatment.The use of a nitrification inhibitor added to LSM was effective at maintaining N in NH4+ form longer; however there was no significant effect on final yield, grain N or %N recovery. This may be due to the low N loss potential on prairies. Supplemental S and P fertilizer may be required with liquid swine manure. Supplemental commercial fertilizers with LSM are dependant on: the crop nutrient requirements, soil nutrient status and manure nutrient composition.



nitrogen, recovery, nitrification inhibitor, liquid swine manrue



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Soil Science


Soil Science


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