U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Date of this Version



Published in Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 38: 2103–2116, 2007. DOI: 10.1080/00103620701548860


Interest in manure management and its effects on nitrogen (N) mineralization has increased in recent years. The focus of this research was to investigate the N-mineralization rates of different soil types in Coastal Plain soils and compare them to a soil from Illinois. Soils with and without dairy composted manure addition were subjected to different wetting/drying cycles [constant moisture at 60% waterfilled pore space (WFPS) and cycling moisture from 60 to 30% WFPS] under laboratory conditions at three different temperatures (11 °C, 18 °C, and 25 °C). Samples were collected from three different soil types: Catlin (Mollisols), Bama (Ultisols), and Goldsboro (Utilsols). Soil chemical and physical properties were determined to help assess variations in N-mineralization rates. Addition of composted manure greatly impacted the amount of N mineralized. The amount of manure-derived organic N mineralized to inorganic forms was mainly attributed to the soil series, with the Catlin (silt loam) producing the most inorganic N followed by the Goldsboro (loam) and then Bama (sandy loam). This was probably due to soil texture and the native climatic conditions of the soil. No significant differences were observed between the constant and cycling moisture regimens, suggesting that the imposed drying cycle may not have been sufficient to desiccate microbial cells and cause a flush in N mineralization upon rewetting. Nitrogen mineralization responded greatly to the influence of temperature, with the greatest N mineralization occurring at 25 °C. The information acquired from this study may aid in predicting the impact of manure application to help increase N-use efficiency when applied under different conditions (e.g., climate season) and soil types.