Estimating Nitrogen Efficiency of Swine Lagoon Liquid Applied to Field Crops Using Continuously Variable Irrigation
Application of anaerobic swine (Sus scrofa domesticus) lagoon liquid onto cropland by irrigation is a common method of waste disposal and treatment. Currently, the application rate of swine lagoon liquid is based on the N concentration of the lagoon liqu id and the N required by the receiver crop to obtain a realistic yield. In North Carolina, only 50% of the total N in the swine lagoon liquid applied by irrigation is considered available for plant use during the first year after application. Uncertaint y exists as to whether this coefficient accurately predicts the amount of plant-available N. Therefore, research was conducted in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina to determine the efficiency of N uptake by corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max M errill) receiving swine lagoon liquid through irrigation. The line-source sprinkler irrigation method was used to provide a continuous variable N rate, ranging from 0 to 290 kg N/ha, across the field during 1999 and 2000. Ammonia volatilization losses r anged from 6 to 22% during irrigation. Crop yield and grain N recovered were affected more by the amount of liquid than N applied in 1999. Nitrogen recovered in grain in 1999 was <15% for both corn and soybean at 168 kg N/ha of either swine lagoon liqui d or ammonium nitrate. In 2000 at the 168 kg N/ha rate, grain N removal by corn, nonnodulating soybean, and nodulating soybean was 28, 25, and 39% from swine lagoon liquid and 45, 31, and 56% from ammonium nitrate. Based on yields and grain N removed by corn and nonnodulating soybean in 2000, N from applied swine lagoon liquid, accounting for N losses during irrigation, was about 70% as effective as ammonium nitrate. Symbiotic N2 fixation by the soybean was reduced by 60% when applied N reached 175 kg N/ha for both ammonium nitrate and swine lagoon liquid. While nodulating soybean removed more grain N than did either corn or nonnodulating soybean in 2000, soil inorganic N concentrations at the end of the growing season were higher for the nodulating s oybean. Therefore, it is not conclusive if soybean would be a better receiver crop than corn for swine lagoon liquid. Based on the results of this study, using the 50% available N coefficient of the lagoon liquid comes close to predicting plant-availabl e N when N losses during irrigation are around 25%. Nitrogen losses during irrigation can significantly affect plant-available N when applied N is based on the N concentrations of the lagoon liquid.
Advisor:Robert L. Mikkelsen; Rodney L. Huffman; Larry D. King
School:North Carolina State University
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:05/21/2002