Fertilizer research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 3–22 | Cite as

Dynamics of ammonia volatilization from simulated urine patches and aqueous urea applied to pasture. II. Theoretical derivation of a simplified model

  • RR Sherlock
  • KM Goh


Theoretical considerations for the development of a simplified model for predicting volatilization losses of ammonia gas (NH3(g)) from the urine patches of grazing herbivores in a pasture ecosystem are presented. The volatilization of NH3(g) is treated as a physico-chemical phenomenon based on the soil solution chemistry of urine patches to develop a general equation to describe the rate of volatilization from a pasture surface. A semi-empirical approach was then used in which published data define typical limits for the parameters appearing in the volatilization equation. This led to the simplification of the general volatilization equation into a more useable and more readily verifiable form.

The dominant factor in determining the rate of volatilization of NH3(g) was shown to be the soil surface pH. To better understand the dynamics of pH changes within urine patches, the more extensive literature dealing with volatilization losses from flooded soils was reviewed. From the apparent similarities between the two systems a procedure was described by which a careful monitoring of soil surface pH as a function of time could be used to solve the simplified equation.

To calculate NH3(g) fluxes this model requires the following as input data: a knowledge of the disposition of the applied-N within the soil profile; the rate of urea hydrolysis in the topsoil; and soil surface pH and temperature measurements throughout the duration of a volatilization event.

Key words

ammonia volatilization urine patches volatilization model nitrogen loss urea 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • RR Sherlock
    • 1
  • KM Goh
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil Science DepartmentLincoln CollegeCanterburyNew Zealand

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