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Applying urine collected from non-lactating dairy cows dosed with dicyandiamide to lysimeters and grass plots: effects on nitrous oxide emissions, nitrate leaching and herbage production

  • P. J. O'CONNOR (a1) (a2), D. MINOGUE (a3), E. LEWIS (a1), M. B. LYNCH (a2) and D. HENNESSY (a1)...

Summary

In agricultural production systems, nitrogen (N) losses to the environment can occur through nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and nitrate (NO3) leaching. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate: (1) if urine excreted by non-lactating dairy cows pulse-dosed with dicyandiamide (DCD) and applied to lysimeters reduced N2O-N emissions and NO3-N leaching on two soil types; and (2) if urine + DCD would increase herbage production over winter. Lysimeters were used to measure N2O emissions and NO3-N leaching. The soils used were a free-draining acid brown earth of sandy loam to loam texture (termed free-draining) and a poorly drained silt loam gley (termed poorly drained). Grass plots were established on the free-draining soil to measure herbage production. The N loading rate of the urine + DCD was 508 kg N/ha and the urine without DCD (urine only) was 451 kg N/ha. Total NO3-N leaching losses from the free-draining and poorly draining soils were reduced from 100 and 81 kg NO3-N/ha on the urine-only treatment, respectively, to 9 and 11·6 kg NO3-N/ha on the urine + DCD treatment, respectively. Total N2O-N emissions from the free-draining and poorly drained soils were reduced significantly from 13·6 and 12·1 kg N2O-N/ha on the urine-only treatment, respectively, to 2·23 and 5·24 kg N2O-N/ha on the urine + DCD treatment, respectively. Applying urine with DCD to pastures inhibited the nitrification process for up to 56 days after treatment application. In the current experiment, there was no significant effect on spring herbage production when urine + DCD was applied to grass plots. Therefore, feeding DCD to dairy cows to apply DCD directly in urine patches was shown to be an effective mitigation strategy to reduce NO3-N leaching and N2O-N emissions but did not appear to increase spring herbage production.

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Corresponding author

*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: deirdre.hennessy@teagasc.ie

References

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Applying urine collected from non-lactating dairy cows dosed with dicyandiamide to lysimeters and grass plots: effects on nitrous oxide emissions, nitrate leaching and herbage production

  • P. J. O'CONNOR (a1) (a2), D. MINOGUE (a3), E. LEWIS (a1), M. B. LYNCH (a2) and D. HENNESSY (a1)...

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