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Infiltration of slurry liquid and volatilization of ammonia from surface applied pig slurry as affected by soil water content

  • S. G. SOMMER (a1) and O. H. JACOBSEN (a2)

Abstract

Ammonia (NH3) volatilization may decrease the fertilizer efficiency of surface-applied slurry and may cause the unwanted deposition of nitrogen (N) in oligotrophic ecosystems. We studied the effect of soil water content on the infiltration of slurry liquid and how infiltration affected NH3 volatilization. NH3 volatilization was measured with dynamic chambers through which air was drawn continuously. Slurry spiked with bromide (Br) to trace slurry infiltration was applied to a loamy sand in steel cylinders (diameter 6·7 cm and height 12 cm) adjusted to water contents of 0·01, 0·08, 0·12 and 0·19 g H2O per g soil (g g−1). At different time intervals after slurry application the soil columns were cut into slices and Br, ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3) concentrations were determined. At soil water contents >0·12 g g−1 nitrate content increased significantly from 24 to 72 h, and at 96 h NO3 content was equivalent to 75–130% of the NH4+ present at 0·5 h after slurry application. Nitrification may have contributed to a low NH3 volatilization from 24 to 96 h by reducing NH4+ concentration and contributing to acidity, and most of the NH3 volatilization occurred, therefore, during the first 24 h after application. Low soil water content enhanced the infiltration of slurry liquid and hence the mass transport of NH4+ into the soil. Transport of NH4+ by diffusion, on the other hand, was highest at the highest water content. Transport of NH4+ from the slurry at the soil surface down into the soil at 0·01 g g−1 reduced NH3 volatilization to c. 70% of the volatilization from slurry applied to soils at higher water contents. Diffusion of NH4+ into the soil did not significantly decrease NH3 volatilization.

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Corresponding author

To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: SvenG.Sommer@agrsci.dk
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Infiltration of slurry liquid and volatilization of ammonia from surface applied pig slurry as affected by soil water content

  • S. G. SOMMER (a1) and O. H. JACOBSEN (a2)

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