Skip to main content

Biochar and manure effects on net nitrogen mineralization and greenhouse gas emissions from calcareous soil under corn

Lentz, R.D. and Ippolito, J.A. and Spokas, K.A. (2014) Biochar and manure effects on net nitrogen mineralization and greenhouse gas emissions from calcareous soil under corn. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 78:1641-1655.

[img] PDF

Download (1MB)


Few multiyear field studies have examined the impacts of a one-time biochar application on net N mineralization and greenhouse gas emissions in an irrigated, calcareous soil; yet such applications are hypothesized as a means of sequestering atmospheric CO2 and improving soil quality. We fall-applied four treatments, stockpiled dairy manure (42 Mg/ha dry wt.); hardwood-derived biochar (22.4 Mg/ha); combined biochar and manure; and no amendments (control). Nitrogen fertilizer was applied in all plots and years based on treatment’s pre-season soil test N and crop requirements, and accounting for estimated N mineralized from added manure. From 2009 to 2011 we measured greenhouse gas fluxes using vented chambers, net N mineralization (NNM) using buried bags, corn yield, and N uptake, and in a succeeding year, root and shoot biomass and biomass C and N concentrations. Both amendments produced soil produced persistent soil effects. Manure increased seasonal and three year cumulative NNM, root biomass, and root:shoot ratio 1.6-fold, CO2-C gas flux 1.2-fold, and reduced soil NH4:NO3 ratio 58% relative to no-manure treatments. Relative to all other treatments on average, biochar-only produced 33% less cumulative NNM, 20% less CO2-C and 50% less N2O-N gas emissions, 35% less root biomass, and increased soil NH4:NO3 ratio 1.8-fold. These long-term effects suggest that biochar slightly impaired nitrification and N immobilization processes, and are likely caused by enduring biochar porosity and surface chemistry characteristics that influence N-transform-ation processes, alter microbial populations, and sequester soil ammonium. While the biochar-only treatment demonstrated a potential to increase corn yields and minimize CO2-C and N2O-N gas emissions in these calcareous soils; biochar also caused decreased corn yields under certain soil nutrient conditions. Combining biochar with manure effectively utilizes these soil amendments as it eliminated potential yield reductions and maximized manure net N mineralization potential.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1514
Subjects: Manure > Application guidelines > Corn
Soil > Chemistry
Soil > Chemistry > Nitrogen
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2014 17:26
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2014 17:26
Item ID: 1558