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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Title: Ammonia Volatilization Loss from Surface Applied Livestock Manure

item Paramasivam, S
item Jayaraman, K
item Wilson, Takela
item Alva, Ashok
item Kelson, Luma
item Jones, Leandra

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2009
Publication Date: 10/22/2009
Citation: Paramasivam, S., Jayaraman, K., Wilson, T.C., Alva, A.K., Kelson, L., Jones, L.B. 2009. Ammonia Volatilization Loss from Surface Applied Livestock Manure. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. 44: 317-324.

Interpretive Summary: Emission of ammonia from animal manure is a source of trace gas emission into the atmosphere. In this incubation study ammonia emissions from a source of poultry litter and swine manure were studied at various rates of amendment (0, 2.2, 5.6, 11.2, and 22.4 metric tons per hectare) to two soils (Candler fine sand; pH 6.8, and Ogeechee loamy sand, pH 5.2). Over a period of 19 days after application of amendments, cumulative ammonia emission was 4 to 27% and 14 to 32% of total nitrogen in the poultry litter and swine manure amendments, respectively. Ammonia emission from the above waste products was greater when applied to Candler fine sand as compared to that from Ogeechee loamy sand. Over 50 percent of cumulative ammonia emission for the full 19-day study occurred in the first 5 – 7 days. When using animal manure as soil amendments appropriate measures must be taken to minimize ammonia emission.

Technical Abstract: Ammonia (NH3) emission from livestock manures used in agriculture reduces N uptake by crops and negatively impacts air quality. This laboratory study was conducted to evaluate NH3 emission from different livestock manures applied to two soils: Candler fins sand (CFS; light-textured soil, pH 6.8 and field capacity soil water content of 70 g kg-1) from Lake Alfred, Florida and Ogeechee loamy sand (OLS; medium-textured soil, pH 5.2 and field capacity soil water content of 140 g/kg) from Savannah, Georgia. Poultry litter (PL) collected from a poultry farm near Douglas, Georgia, and fresh solid separate of swine manure (SM) collected from a farm near Clinton, North Carolina were used. Each of the soil was weighed in 100 g sub samples and amended with either PL or SM at rates equivalent to either 0, 2.24, 5.60, 11.20, or 22.40 Mg/ha in 1L Mason jars and incubated in the laboratory at field capacity soil water content for 19 days to monitor NH3 volatilization. Results indicated a greater NH3 loss from soils amended with SM compared to that with PL. The cumulative NH3 volatilization loss over 19 days ranged from 4 to 27 % and 14 to 32 % of total N applied as PL and SM, respectively. Volatilization of NH3 was greater from light-textured CFS than that from medium-textured OLS. Volatilization loss increased with increasing rates of manure application. Ammonia volatilization was lower at night time than that during the day time. Differences in major factors such as soil water content, temperature, soil type and live stock manure type influenced the diurnal variation in volatilization loss of NH3 from soils. A significant portion (> 50 %) of cumulative NH3 emission over 19-d occurred during the first 5-7 d following the application of livestock manures. Results of this study demonstrate that application of low rates of livestock manure (= 5.60 Mg/ha) is recommended to minimize NH3 emissions.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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