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Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss

Study finds manure does not enhance biomass in greenhouse vegetables; could result in economic loss due to nitrogen accumulations

Date:
January 4, 2016
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Scientists investigated the impact of co-application of manures with chemical N fertilizer on N accumulation and loss in a greenhouse rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce. Application of manures slowed acidification but accelerated salinization of fertile greenhouse soil, and did not significantly enhance aboveground fresh biomass and biomass N in most vegetable seasons. High-rate application of manures resulted in high accumulation of nonextractable N and leachable N, consequently intensifying leaching-dominated N loss.
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Researchers in China studied the co-application of manures and chemical nitrogen fertilizers in high-input greenhouses. They said the environmental risks may outweigh the benefits.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Zhi Quan.

Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for plant growth, and nitrogen fertilization -- including the application of manures -- is a major management strategy in agriculture across the globe. However, the overuse and misuse of manures has resulted in the accumulation of surplus N in soil and its eventual migration to soil layers and groundwater. The authors of a new study found that the environmental risks of manure applications in high-input greenhouse environments may outweigh the benefits, and recommend that the role of manures be reexamined.

The study, published in the November 2015 issue of HortScience, reports on a 3-year experiment conducted in greenhouse soil rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce with and without manures. Scientists investigated the spatial (vertical) and temporal dynamics of nitrate, extractable organic nitrogen (EON), and total nitrogen in soil, and estimated the leaching-dominated N loss based on N balance in soil.

Results showed that application of manures slowed acidification but accelerated salinization of the fertile greenhouse soil, and did not significantly enhance the aboveground fresh biomass and biomass N in most of the vegetable seasons during the 3-year experiment. The experiments also indicated that high-rate application of manures resulted in high accumulation of not only nonextractable N but also leachable N (including nitrate and EON), consequently intensifying leaching-dominated N loss. "Our study showed that enhanced accumulation of mobile N induced by excessive manure input could exceed the need of plant uptake but be subject to downward migration and leaching-dominated loss," the authors wrote.

The researchers recommended that the role of manures in high-input agricultural ecosystems be reexamined to balance the economic benefit and the environmental risks of enhanced nitrogen loss.


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Materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bin Huang, Caiyan Lu, Yi Shi, Yanhong Cao, Yongzhuang Wang, Chuanrui He, Guangyu Chi, Jian Ma and Xin Chen. Nitrogen Accumulation and Loss in a High-input Greenhouse Vegetable Cropping System Elevated by Application of Manures. HortScience, November 2015 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss: Study finds manure does not enhance biomass in greenhouse vegetables; could result in economic loss due to nitrogen accumulations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104163706.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2016, January 4). Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss: Study finds manure does not enhance biomass in greenhouse vegetables; could result in economic loss due to nitrogen accumulations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104163706.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss: Study finds manure does not enhance biomass in greenhouse vegetables; could result in economic loss due to nitrogen accumulations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104163706.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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