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Application of sorbers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from land-applied pig litter

Pratt, C., Redding, M. and Hill, J. (2015) Application of sorbers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from land-applied pig litter. Animal Production Science, 55 (12). p. 1459.

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Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/ANv55n12Ab142.htm


Nitrous oxide is the foremost greenhouse gas (GHG)generated by land-applied manures and chemical fertilisers (Australian Government 2013). This research project was part of the National Agricultural Manure Management Program and investigated the potential for sorbers (i.e. specific naturally-occurring minerals) to decrease GHG emissions from spent piggery litter (as well as other manures)applied to soils. The sorbers investigated in this research were vermiculite and bentonite.
Both are clays with high cation exchange capacities, of approximately 100–150 cmol/kg Faure 1998). The hypothesis tested in this study was that the sorbers bind ammonium in soil solution thereby suppressing ammonia (NH3)volatilisation and in doing so, slowing the kinetics of nitrate formation and associated nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.
A series of laboratory, glasshouse and field experiments were conducted to assess the sorbers’ effectiveness. The laboratory experiments comprised 64 vessels containing manure and sorber/manure ratios ranging from 1 : 10 to 1 : 1 incorporated into a sandy Sodosol via mixing. The glasshouse trial involved 240 pots comprising manure/sorber incubations placed 5 cm below the soil surface, two soil types (sandy Sodosol and Ferrosol) and two different nitrogen (N) application rates (50 kg N/ha and 150 kg N/ha) with a model plant (kikuyu grass). The field trial consisted of 96, 2 m · 2 m plots on a Ferrosol site with digit grass used as a model plant. Manure/ sorber mixtures were applied in trenches (5 cm below surface) to these plots at increasing sorber levels at anNloading rate of 200 kg/ha. Gas produced in all experiments was plumbed into a purpose-built automated gas analysis (N2O, NH3, CH4, CO2) system. In the laboratory experiments, the sorbers showed strong capacity to decreaseNH3 emissions (up to 80% decrease).
Ammonia emissions were close to the detection limit in all treatments in the glasshouse and field trial.
In all experiments, considerable N2O decreases (>40%) were achieved by the sorbers. As an example, mean N2O emission decreases from the field trial phase of the project are shown in Fig. 1a.
The decrease inGHGemissions brought about by the clays did not negatively impact agronomic performance. Both vermiculite and bentonite resulted in a significant increase in dry matter yields in the field trial (Fig. 1b). Continuing work will optimise the sorber technology for improved environmental and agronomic performance across a range of soils (Vertosol, Dermosol in addition to Ferrosol and Sodosols) and environmental parameters (moisture, temperature, porosity, pH).

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Paper presented at Australasian Pig Science Association (Inc) APSA 2015 15th Biennial Conference, Melbourne, November 2015
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Farm machinery and farm engineering
Animal culture > Swine
Animal culture > Housing and environmental control
Live Archive:02 Feb 2016 03:20
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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