Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 99, Issue 1–3, pp 63–78 | Cite as

Soil nitrogen mineralization in a soil with long-term history of fresh and composted manure containing straw or wood-chip bedding

  • Mehdi SharifiEmail author
  • Bernie J. Zebarth
  • Jim J. Miller
  • David L. Burton
  • Cynthia A. Grant
Original Article


Long-term effects of fresh (FM) versus composted (CM) beef manure application to barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) on potentially mineralizable nitrogen (N 0 ), and mineralizable nitrogen (N) pools, were evaluated in a clay loam soil in southern Alberta, Canada. A suite of laboratory-based indices were evaluated for prediction of soil N supply. The treatments were three rates (13, 39, 77 Mg ha−1 dry wt.) of FM or CM containing either straw or wood-chip bedding, 100 kg N ha−1 as inorganic fertilizer, and an unfertilized control. Treatments were fall-applied annually for 8 years (1998–2005). Soil samples (top 15 cm) were collected in spring 2006. The medium and high rates of organic amendment resulted in increases in N 0 , and readily (Pool I) and intermediate (Pool II) mineralizable N pools in ranges of 140–355 % compared with the average of the fertilizer and control treatments. Fertilizer application had no significant effect on mineralizable N pools, but increased the mineralization rate constant (k) compared with the control. Application of FM and use of straw bedding resulted in a greater quantity of readily available and intermediate mineralizable N, and also increased the rate of N turn-over as indicated by greater values of k, compared with CM and wood-chip bedding. Among laboratory-based measures of soil N supply, CaCl2–NO3 (r2 = 0.84) and NaHCO3-205 (r 2 = 0.79) were strong predictors of plant N uptake (PNU). Increased soil mineralizable N did not translate into greater barley dry-matter yield or PNU. Composted beef manure and use of wood-chip bedding can be recommended as alternatives to FM and use of straw bedding for barley production is Southern Alberta.


Barley Bedding Compost Fresh manure Nitrogen mineralization Nitrogen uptake Soil nitrogen supply 



Funding was provided by the GAPS and AGGP programs of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Technical assistance was provided by B. Beasley, G. Decker, D. Janes, and K. Terry. Help provided by Dr. Ravinder Pannu and Dr. Mohammad Reza Ardakani in arranging the data and editing the manuscript is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Sharifi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernie J. Zebarth
    • 2
  • Jim J. Miller
    • 3
  • David L. Burton
    • 4
  • Cynthia A. Grant
    • 5
  1. 1.Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental and Resource Studies ProgramTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  2. 2.Potato Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaFrederictonCanada
  3. 3.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridgeCanada
  4. 4.Environmental Sciences DepartmentFaculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie UniversityTruroCanada
  5. 5.Brandon Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaBrandonCanada

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