Gaseous nitrogen losses from pig slurry fertilisation: can they be reduced with additives in a wheat crop?

  • Noemí Mateo-Marín Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (asociada a EEAD-CSIC). Avda. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza
  • Ramón Isla Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (asociada a EEAD-CSIC). Avda. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza
  • Dolores Quílez Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (asociada a EEAD-CSIC). Avda. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza
Keywords: ammonia volatilisation, microbial activator, nitrification inhibitor, nitrous oxide emission, urease inhibitor


Aim of the study: The use of pig slurry as fertiliser is associated with gaseous nitrogen (N) losses, especially ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O), leading to environmental problems and a reduction of its fertiliser value. This study evaluates, in an irrigated wheat crop, the effect of different additives mixed with pig slurry to decrease NH3 and N2O losses.

Area of study: Middle Ebro valley, Spain

Materials and methods: The treatments were: i) non-N-fertilised control, ii) pig slurry (PS), iii) pig slurry with the urease inhibitor monocarbamide dihydrogen sulphate (PS-UI), iv) pig slurry with a microbial activator in development (PS-A), and v) pig slurry with the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (PS-NI). Pig slurry was applied at a target rate of 120 kg NH4+-N ha-1. Ammonia volatilisation was measured using semi-opened static chambers after treatments application at presowing 2016 and side-dressing 2017. Nitrous oxide emissions were measured using static closed chambers after treatments application at the 2017 and 2018 side-dressing.

Main results: Ammonia volatilisation was estimated to be 7-9% and 19-23% of NH4+-N applied after presowing and side-dressing applications, respectively. Additives were not able to reduce NH3 emissions in any application moment. PS-NI was the only treatment being effective in reducing N2O emissions, 70% respect to those in PS treatment. Crop yield parameters were not affected by the application of the additives because of the no effect of additives controlling NH3 losses and the low contribution of N2O losses to the N balance (<1 kg N2O-N ha-1).

Research highlights: The use of 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate would be recommended from an environmental perspective, although without grain yield benefits.


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Author Biography

Noemí Mateo-Marín, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (asociada a EEAD-CSIC). Avda. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza

Unidad de Suelos y Riegos (asociada a EEAD-CSIC)

PhD Student


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How to Cite
Mateo-MarínN., IslaR., & QuílezD. (2021). Gaseous nitrogen losses from pig slurry fertilisation: can they be reduced with additives in a wheat crop?. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 19(3), e0302.
Agricultural environment and ecology