Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 108, Issue 2, pp 163–175 | Cite as

Ammonia emissions from urine patches amended with N stabilized fertilizer formulations

  • W. Burchill
  • G. J. Lanigan
  • P. J. Forrestal
  • T. Misselbrook
  • K. G. Richards
Original Article


In rotational grazing systems, it is common practice to apply nitrogen (N) fertiliser within 24 h of grazing thus resulting in addition of N fertiliser to urine patches. However, there is a lack of information on what the potential is, if any, to use this common practice to deliver N stabilisers to urine patches via N fertiliser formulations to reduce N losses to the environment. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of applying urea fertiliser (with and without N stabilisers) 24 h after urine patch deposition on NH3 emissions. Treatments included (1) urine, (2) urea, (3) urine + urea, (4) urine + urea with N-(butyl)thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), (5) urine + urea with dicyandiamide (DCD) and (6) urine + urea with both NBPT and DCD. Treatments were applied on two occasions, May and June, under contrasting soil moisture and meteorological conditions to a temperate grassland site. Urine (569–883 kg N ha−1) was applied 24 h prior to urea fertiliser application (40 kg N ha−1). There was no significant reduction or increase in NH3 emission factors from treatments receiving the two N stabilisers (NBPT and DCD) in the May and June application timings compared to the other treatments. The results of this study suggest that common farm practice of applying N fertiliser the day after grazing in rotational grazing systems offers no reduction in NH3 emission rates from urine patches where the N stabiliser inclusion rate is designed to reduce the fertiliser-based N losses only.


Urea Urine NBPT DCD Ammonia volatilisation Grassland 



The authors thank Ms Francesca Reville and internship students for assistance with field sampling. The study was funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Project No.: 13 S 430).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Burchill
    • 1
  • G. J. Lanigan
    • 1
  • P. J. Forrestal
    • 1
  • T. Misselbrook
    • 2
  • K. G. Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.Crops, Environment and Land Use ProgrammeTeagasc, Johnstown Castle Environment Research CentreCo. WexfordIreland
  2. 2.Rothamsted Research - North WykeOkehamptonUK

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