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Utilizing swine effluent on sprinkler-irrigated corn




Al Kaisi, Mahdi, author
Waskom, Reagan, author

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The expansion of large swine production facilities in Colorado prompted a need to evaluate the impact of swine effluent applied on irrigated corn grown on sandy soil. The objectives of this study were to: evaluate the use of swine effluent as a nutrient source for irrigated corn production, evaluate irrigated corn response grown on sandy soils to different application rates, determine NH3 loss during sprinkler application and the 72 hour period following application, and evaluate N movement through the soil profile under swine effluent and commercial-N fertilizer for irrigated conditions. The 5-year study was initiated in 1995 on a 14.5-ha sprinkler-irrigated field planted to grain corn. In 1999, the field experiment was expanded to two other facilities, both having one-stage lagoons to evaluate ammonia volatilization from single stage lagoon effluent. Both swine effluent and commercial-N fertilizer treatments were applied at four N rates labeled, control, low, agronomic, and high. All treatments were replicated three times in a randomized complete block design. Approximately 90% of the total nitrogen from the 2-stage lagoon effluent was in ammoniacal form, and the total dry matter content of the effluent was only 0.1-0.2% by volume. Corn yields increased with the increase of both swine effluent and commercial-N fertilizer rates. In contrast to the swine effluent treatments, significant soil-N buildup was observed at the 1.5 to 3.0 m depths for the commercial-N fertilizer treatments. Higher total N and P plant removal for the swine effluent treatments resulted in little N accumulation below the root zone. As the swine effluent application rate increased, the plant N and P removal and recovery rate increased. Ammonia loss during application ranged from 8 to 27% of the total NH4-N in the effluent due to drift and volatilization, with an average loss of 17%. The range of estimated N loss from the soil within 72 hours of application varied from 24 to 56%, with an average loss of 42% of the NH4-N in the applied effluent. The total N loss from both the sprinkler application and the soil ranged from 33 to 73% of the applied NH4-N, with an average loss of approximately 60%. Effluent N concentration did not significantly impact the percent of N lost, while air temperature and wind speed were significant variables in the percent of N lost.


Presented at the 15th annual Central Plains irrigation conference and exposition proceedings on February 4-5, 2003 at the City Limits Convention Center in Colby, Kansas.

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