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Mineralization-immobilization and plant uptake of nitrogen as influenced by the spatial distribution of cattle slurry in soils of different texture

Peter Sørensen and Erik Steen Jensen
Plant and Soil
Vol. 173, No. 2 (June (II) 1995), pp. 283-291
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42947533
Page Count: 9
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Mineralization-immobilization and plant uptake of nitrogen as influenced by the spatial distribution of cattle slurry in soils of different texture
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Abstract

The effect of incorporating cattle slurry in soil, either by mixing or by simulated injection into a hollow in soil, on the ryegrass uptake of total N and ¹⁵$NH_4^ + $-N was determined in three soils of different texture. The N accumulation in Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) from slurry N and from an equivalent amount of $NH_4^ + $-N in (¹⁵NH₄)₂SO₄ (control) was measured during 6 months of growth in pots. After this period the total recovery of labelled N in the top soil plus herbage was similar in the slurry and the control treatments. This indicated that gaseous losses from slurry $NH_4^ + $-N were insignificant. Consequently, the availability of slurry N to plants was mainly influenced by the mineralization-immobilization processes. The apparent utilization of slurry $NH_4^ + $-N mixed into soil was 7%, 14% and 24% lower than the utilization of (NH₄)₂SO₄-N in a sand soil, a sandy loam soil and a loam soil, respectively. Thus, the net immobilization of N due to slurry application increased with increasing soil clay content, whereas the recovery in plants of ¹⁵N-labelled $NH_4^ + $-N from slurry was similar on the three soils. A parallel incubation experiment showed that the immobilization of slurry N occurred within the first week after slurry application. The incorporation of slurry N by simulated injection increased the plant uptake of both total and labelled N compared to mixing the slurry into the soil. The apparent utilization of injected slurry $NH_4^ + $-N was 7% higher, 8% lower and 4% higher than the utilization of (NH₄)₂SO₄-N in the sand, the sandy loam and the loam soil, respectively. It is concluded that the spatial distribution of slurry in soil influenced the net mineralization of N to the same degree as did the soil type.

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