Greenhouse gas emissions from grassland pasture fertilized with liquid hog manure

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Tremorin, Denis Gerald
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A study was conducted in 2004 and 2005 to determine the effect of liquid hog manure fertilization on greenhouse gas emissions from the surface of a grassland pasture in south-eastern Manitoba. The objectives of this research were to determine the effects of manure application, itstiming and soil moisture on greenhouse gas emissions from pasture soil, cattle dung and urine patches. Nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were determined from grassland soil surface, and from cattle dung and artificial urine patches. Liquid hog manure treatments were no manure (Control); 153 kg ha-1 of available-nitrogen (N) (two year average) in spring (Spring); and 149 kg ha-1 as half-rate applications in fall and spring (Split). Four field experiments were conducted on grassland plots. The static-vented chamber technique was used to estimate gas emission rates. Two of the experiments focused on the effects of manure application timing and soil moisture on greenhouse gas emissions from the grassland soil surface. The other two experiments focused on the effects of manure application and soil moisture on greenhouse gas emissions from cattle dung and artificial urine patches. Fresh cattle dung was collected from steers grazing adjacent pastures receiving the same three manure treatments. Artificial cattle urine treatments were generated by converting blood urea concentrations of the steers into urine-N concentrations. Manure application increased (P≤0.01) cumulative N2O emissions from the grassland soil surface with Control, Split and Spring treatments averaging 7, 43 and 120 mg N2O-N m-2, respectively. Of the two manure treatments, the Spring treatment emitted higher (P≤0.10) N2O emissions than the Split treatment. Soil moisture was a major factor influencing the quantity and type of greenhouse gas emissions, with saturated areas emitting CH4 during warm periods, whereas drier areas emitted N2O. Nitrous oxide emissions from these dry areas were higher in manure-treated plots. Spring application increased root density by 45% in the top 5 cm of soil compared to the Control. An increase in soil organic carbon with root density may offset any increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by manure treatment. Cattle dung from Split and Spring treatments had higher cumulative N2O emissions (30 and 82 mg N2O-N m-2, respectively) compared to dung from Control pastures (6 mg N2O-N m-2) over two study years. Dung from the Spring treatment emitted more N2O (P≤0.01) than the other two treatments. All cattle dung patches emitted CH4 after deposition though unaffected by manure treatment. Artificial urine having highest N concentration had greater (P≤0.05) cumulative N2O emissions (690 mg N2O-N m-2) than urine with the lowest N concentration (170 mg N2O-N m-2). Drier soil locations emitted more N2O from cattle dung and artificial urine patches than wetter areas. This study demonstrated that Split application of liquid hog manure to grassland emitted less N2O than a complete application in spring. Moisture greatly affected the location of N2O and CH4 emissions. Drier areas emitted more N2O than wetter ones. Particularly, the findings indicate a need to assess grassland on periodically saturated soils as sources rather than sinks for CH4. Application of manure increased greenhouse gas emissions from cattle dung and urine patches with urine potentially having the greatest impact because of their higher emissions of N2O. An increase in root growth seems to offset greenhouse gas emissions from manure application.
nitrous oxide, methane, manure, grassland, greenhouse gas, hog, cattle, soil moisture, dung, urine