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Effects of application technique and anaerobic digestion on gaseous nitrogen loss from animal slurry applied to ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

  • G. H. Rubæk (a1), K. Henriksen (a2), J. Petersen (a1), B. Rasmussen (a2) and S. G. Sommer (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

Ammonia volatilization and denitrification were measured in a ryegrass field in Denmark after direct injection and application with trail hoses of an untreated cattle slurry and an anaerobically digested slurry in late May-early June 1993 and 1994. Ammonia volatilization was measured using a windtunnel system for a period of 8 days after slurry application. Denitrification was measured for a period of 21 days after slurry application. In an adjacent field experiment, nitrogen-uptake (N-uptake) was determined in the first two cuts of the ryegrass harvested after slurry application. N losses through ammonia volatilization were larger in 1993 than in 1994 due to differences in climatic conditions. Ammonia volatilization was lowered substantially (47–72%), when slurry was injected compared with surface application. In 1993 the loss from surface-applied digested slurry was only 35% of total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN), while the loss from the raw slurry was 47%. There were no significant differences in ammonia volatilization from the two slurry types in the other experiments. N losses through denitrification were low (< 2% of TAN), but there were clear differences in the losses, depending on slurry type, application method and experimental year. Injection of the slurry gave a larger N-uptake in the first cut of grass compared to the trail-hose application. In 1993 N-uptake from the digested slurry treatment gave significantly larger N-uptake compared to the raw slurry in the first cut.

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