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Estimating the impact of manure nitrogen losses on total nitrogen application on agricultural land in Canada

Yang, J.Y., Huffman, E.C., Drury, C.F., Yang, X.M., De Jong, R. (2011). Estimating the impact of manure nitrogen losses on total nitrogen application on agricultural land in Canada, 91(1), 107-122. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJSS10052

Abstract

About 1 million tonnes (1 Tg=1012 g) of livestock manure N are applied to farmland in Canada each year. Comprehensive information on manure N production and losses from manure during on-farm storage, handling and field application is scarce, especially at a regional scale. However, manure N losses during storage and land application are of considerable concern with respect to nitrogen use efficiency and environmental pollution of air, soil and water. In this paper, manure N production, manure N losses during storage and land application and manure N mineralization from organic manure and the resultant manure N available for annual crops were estimated using the Census of Agriculture database, Farm Environmental Management Survey data and manure N loss factors obtained from the literature. A database of fertilizer N application rates for field crops was developed at the regional scale based on recommendations provided in agronomic extension bulletins and fertilizer N sales. Fertilizer N and available manure N (i.e., total manure N produced minus N losses plus N mineralized from manure applied in previous years) were allocated to each of 24 crops at the regional scale from 1981 to 2006. The amount of manure N produced in Canada increased by 18.7% from 0.928 Tg in 1981 to 1.102 Tg in 2006. We estimated that 35.6% of the manure N produced was immediately available to crops, 25.6% was lost during storage and land application and 38.8% was carried over to the next year as organic N. The amount of fertilizer N applied to crops increased dramatically from 0.928 Tg in 1981 to a peak level of 1.68 Tg in 2000. There were significant changes in manure N production and application to farmland both on a regional and a temporal basis.

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