Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Impact of Time to First Rainfall Event on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Manure Applications

Authors
item Smith, Douglas
item Owens, P - PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 21, 2009
Publication Date: July 5, 2010
Citation: Smith, D.R., Owens, P.R. 2010. Impact of Time to First Rainfall Event on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Manure Applications. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 41:1604-1614.

Interpretive Summary: Use of inorganic fertilizers and manures are known to result in the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and rainfall events can also increase greenhouse gas emissions from soils. However, little is known about the temporal relationship between fertilizer application and rainfall on greenhouse gas emissions. We studied how the duration between fertilizer or manure application affects carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane fluxes. Greenhouse gas emissions were measured before and after rainfall simulations 1, 4, 8, 15 and 29 days after application of inorganic fertilizers, poultry litter or swine manure. Gas fluxes prior to rainfall simulations peaked on day 8, with the greatest emissions from swine manure. Gas emissions following rainfall simulations peaked at days 4 and 8, and were between 20 and 600% greater than the peaks that occurred prior to rainfall simulations. These data seem to indicate that if manures are applied during drier periods of the year, greenhouse gas emissions can be minimized, in addition to reducing the potential for nutrient losses in runoff. The impact of this research is to aid producers and technical service providers in their decision making about when to apply fertilizers and manures, with respect to environmental protection.

Technical Abstract: Use of inorganic fertilizers and manures are known to result in the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and rainfall events can also increase greenhouse gas emissions from soils. However, little is known about the temporal relationship between fertilizer application and rainfall on greenhouse gas emissions. The objective of this study was to examine how the time between fertilizer or manure application affects CO2, N2O and CH4 fluxes. Swine manure, poultry litter and urea were added to plots, and rainfall was simulated 1, 4, 8, 15 or 29 days after application. Gas fluxes were determined before and after each rainfall simulation. Peak CO2 and N2O emissions before rainfall occurred 8 days after fertilizer application. Swine manure yielded the greatest N2O and CH4 fluxes prior to rainfall. Post-rain CO2 fluxes were the greatest from poultry litter at 4 to 8 days after fertilization, and all fertilizer treatments produced similar N2O emissions with a peak 4 days after fertilization. Fertilized and unfertilized soils acted as both a source and a sink for CH4 during this study. These data seem to indicate that if manures are applied during drier periods of the year, greenhouse gas emissions can be minimized, in addition to reducing the potential for nutrient losses in runoff. The impact of this research is to help natural resource managers make recommendations to agricultural producers about fertilizer and manure applications with respect to protection of natural resources. [GRACEnet Publication]

Last Modified: 9/1/2014