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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Protocols for Nationally Coordinated Laboratory and Field Research on Manure Nitrogen Mineralization

Authors
item Honeycutt, Charles
item Griffin, Timothy
item Wienhold, Brian
item Eghball, Bahman
item Albrecht, Stephan
item Powell, J Mark
item Woodbury, Bryan
item Sistani, Karamat
item Hubbard, Robert
item Torbert, Henry
item Eigenberg, Roger
item Wright, Robert
item Jawson, Michael
item He, Zhongqi

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 23, 2004
Publication Date: December 1, 2005
Citation: Honeycutt, C.W., Griffin, T.S., Wienhold, B.J., Eghball, B., Albrecht, S.L., Powell, J.M., Woodbury, B.L., Sistani, K.R., Hubbard, R.K., Torbert III, H.A., Eigenberg, R.A., Wright, R.J., Jawson, M.D., He, Z. 2005. Protocols for nationally coordinated laboratory and field research on manure nitrogen mineralization. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 36: 2807-2822.

Interpretive Summary: Nitrates from animal manure can contaminate ground water. A team of U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, scientists is conducting a nationally coordinated research project to predict manure nitrogen availability to protect water quality and improve farm solvency. The same experimental design and research protocols were developed and used by participating scientists in Maine, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Laboratory incubations are conducted at each location with a minimum of 3 soils, 3 temperatures, 2 wetting/drying regimes, and 2 manure treatments. A soil from the central U.S. is also used by each scientist to allow comparisons across laboratories. Research conducted at each laboratory will be combined to develop predictions of nitrogen availability across a wide range of soils, manures, and environments. The same protocols are also followed for monitoring manure nitrogen under field conditions at each location. This field data will be used to compare laboratory predictions with field observations of nitrogen in each soil, climatic zone, and manure type. This research is expected to maximize the benefits of using manure as a nitrogen source in crop production, while minimizing water quality contamination with manure nitrate on a national scale.

Technical Abstract: The National Program structure of USDA-ARS provides an opportunity to coordinate research on problems of national and global significance. A team of USDA-ARS scientists is conducting nationally coordinated research to develop predictions of manure N availability to protect water quality and improve farm solvency. Experimental design and research protocols were developed and used in common across all participating locations. Laboratory incubations are conducted at each location with a minimum of 3 soils, 3 temperatures, 2 wetting/drying regimes, and 2 manure treatments. A soil from the central U.S. (Catlin silt loam, fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Oxyaquic Arguidoll) is used as an internal reference across all locations. Incubation data are compiled across locations to develop generalized predictions of manure N mineralization (Nmin). Field validation data are then obtained by monitoring N transformations in manure-amended soil cores equipped with anion exchange resin to capture leached nitrate. This field data will be used to compare laboratory based predictions with field observations of Nmin in each soil, climatic zone, and manure type represented. A Decision Support System will then be developed for predicting manure N mineralization across ranges in soil, climate, and manure composition. This research is expected to promote optimal N use efficiency in manure amended soils, thereby maximizing economic benefits and minimizing deleterious environmental consequences of manure application to cropland.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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