Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354496

Research Project: Sustainable Management and Byproduct Utilization of Manure Nutrients and Environmental Contaminants from Beef and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen dynamics from land application of solid beef manure and urea in a corn crop

Author
item Suresh, Niraula - North Dakota State University
item Rahman, Shafiqur - North Dakota State University
item Chatterjee, Amitava - North Dakota State University
item Cortus, Erin - University Of Minnesota
item Mehata, Mukesh - South Dakota State University
item Spiehs, Mindy

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/17/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: When manure is used as fertilizer on crop land, it has been shown to improve soil health and increase crop yields compared to commercial fertilizer. However, the nutrients in manure can be quite variable. Little is known about the potential emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide when manure is used as a nitrogen fertilizer. A two-year study was conducted to measure gas emissions from crop land that received beef manure to compare it to crop land that received commercial fertilizer or no fertilizer. Two types of beef manure were used: solid beef manure and solid beef manure that contained wheat straw as bedding material. Crop yield was the same for plots that received both types of beef manure as well as the commercial fertilizer. Cumulative nitrous oxide emission over the growing season was highest when commercial fertilizer was used, but the use of commercial fertilizer reduced cumulative carbon dioxide emission by 42% compared to both types of manure. Cumulative methane emission was highest from plots that received the beef manure with bedding. When comparing manure versus commercial fertilizer, manure reduced cumulative ammonia emission by ~11%. No fertilizer was able to reduce all gaseous emissions, which highlights the challenges producers face when selecting a fertilizer to use on their crop field.

Technical Abstract: Land application of beef cattle (Bos taurus) manure can improve soil health and increase crop yield compared to commercial fertilizers. However, ammonia (NH3) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may lead to nutrient losses and environmental concerns. The objective of this research was to quantify NH3 and GHG emissions from commercial and manure fertilizers applied to corn (Zea mays L.). In addition, residual soil N, corn (Zea mays L.) yield, plant tissue N, and grain N were determined. The two-year field study was conducted in Fargo-Ryan silty clay (FRSC) soil. Treatments (TRT) consisted of urea (UO), solid beef manure (SM), solid beef manure with straw bedding (BM), and no-fertilizer (NF). All TRT were applied to meet the corn N demand and yield goal of 10,760 kg ha-1 (160 bu ac-1). GHG were quantified using static flux chambers, and NH3 was quantified using acid traps in semi-static open chambers. The average of two growing season cumulative N2O emission (cN2O) ranged from 0.3 (NF) to 1.2 (UO) kg N ha-1. Cumulative CO2 (cCO2) emission were 42% lower in UO than either SM or BM. Cumulative CH4 (cCH4) emission ranged from -0.04 (NF) to 0.21 (BM) kg CH4-C ha-1. Cumulative NH3 (cNH3) were 11% lower in SM and BM than UO. Cumulative residual soil N was 11% greater in Yr 2 than Yr 1. Fertilizer source did not affect the grain yield and grain N uptake (P>0.05). The results highlight the challenges that come with variability in manure properties, soil and weather, as well as the potential for meeting crop N demand while reducing GHG emissions when using manure as an N source.