Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
08 Feb 2010
 | 08 Feb 2010

The annual ammonia budget of fertilised cut grassland – Part 1: Micrometeorological flux measurements and emissions after slurry application

C. Spirig, C. R. Flechard, C. Ammann, and A. Neftel

Abstract. Two commercial ammonia (NH3) analysers were customised to allow continuous measurements of vertical concentration gradients. The gradients were used to derive ammonia exchange fluxes above a managed grassland site at Oensingen (Switzerland) by application of the aerodynamic gradient method. The measurements from July 2006 to October 2007 covered five complete growth-cut cycles and included six applications of liquid cattle slurry. The average accuracy of the flux measurements during unstable and near-neutral conditions was 20% and the detection limit was 10 ng NH3 m−2 s−1. Hence the flux measurements are considered sufficiently accurate for studying typical NH3 deposition rates over growing vegetation. Quantifying the overall emissions after slurry applications required the application of elaborate interpolations because of difficulties capturing the initial emissions during broadspreading of liquid manure. The emissions were also calculated with a mass balance method yielding similar fluxes. NH3 losses after slurry application expressed as percentage of emitted nitrogen versus applied total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN) varied between 4 and 19%, which is roughly a factor of three lower than the values for broadspreading of liquid manure in emission inventories. The comparatively low emission factors appear to be a consequence of the low dry matter content of the applied slurry and soil properties favouring ammonium adsorption.

Final-revised paper