Relative effects of anaerobically-digested and conventional liquid swine manure, and N fertilizer on crop yield and greenhouse gas emissions


Anaerobic digestion is a promising technology that could provide an option for managing animal waste with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. A three-year (2006-2008) field experiment was conducted at Star City, Saskatchewan, Canada, to compare the effects of land-applied anaerobically digested swine manure (ADSM), conventionally treated swine manure (CTSM) and N fertilizer on grain yield of barley, applied N use efficiency (ANUE, kg·grain·kg-1 of applied N·ha-1), ammonia (NH3) volatilization and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Treatments included spring and autumn applications of CTSM and ADSM at a 1x rate (10,000 and 7150 L·ha-1, respectively) applied every year, a 3x rate (30,000 and 21,450 L·ha-1, respectively) applied once at the beginning of the experiment, plus a treatment receiving commercial fertilizer (UAN at 60 kg·N·ha-1·yr-1) and a zero-N control. There was a significant grain yield response of barley to applied N in all three years. The ANUE of ADSM or CTSM applied once at the 3x rate were lower than annual applications at the 1x rate (grain yield by 595 kg·ha-1 and NFUE by 6 kg·grain·kg-1 of applied N·ha-1). On average, agronomic performance of ADSM was similar to CTSM. The APNU of N fertilizer was greater than the 3x rate but lower than the 1x rate of ADSM or CTSM. Ammonia loss from ADSM was similar to CTSM, except for much higher loss of NH3-N from CTSM at the 3x rate applied in the autumn (8100 g·N·ha-1) compared to the other treatments (1100 - 2600 g·N·ha-1). The percentage of applied N lost as N2O gas was generally higher for treatments receiving CTSM (4.0%) compared to ADSM (1.4%). In conclusion, the findings suggest that ADSM is equal or slightly better than CTSM in terms of agronomic performance, but has lower environmental impact.

Share and Cite:

Lemke, R. , Malhi, S. , Selles, F. and Stumborg, M. (2012) Relative effects of anaerobically-digested and conventional liquid swine manure, and N fertilizer on crop yield and greenhouse gas emissions. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 799-805. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.36097.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Koroluk, R., Culver, D., Lefebvre A. and McRae, T. (2000) Management of Farm Nutrient and Pesticides Inputs. In: McRae, T. Smith, C.A.S. and Gregorich, L.J., Eds., Environmental Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture: Report of the Agri-Environmental Indicator Project. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa. Ontario, Canada.
[2] Lague, C., Gaudet, é., Agnew J. and Fonstad, T.A. (2005) Greenhouse gas emissions from liquid swine manure storage facilities in Sas-katchewan. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineering 48 (6), 2289-2296.
[3] Mooleki, S.P., Schoenau, J.J., Hultgreen, G., Wen, G. and Charles, J.L. (2002) Effect of rate, frequency and method of liquid swine manure application on soil nitrogen availability, crop performance and N use efficiency in east-central Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 82, 457–467.
[4] Pain, B.F., Phillips, V.R., Clarkson, C.R. and Klarenbeek, J.V. (1989) Loss of nitrogen through volatilization during and following the application of pig or cattle slurry to grassland. Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture 47, 1–12.
[5] Gordon, R., Jamieson, R., Rodd, V., Patterson, G. and Harz.T. (2001) Effects of surface manure application timing on ammonia volatilization. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 81, 525–533.
[6] Rochette, P., Chantigny, M.H., Angers, D.A., Bertrand, N. and Cote, D. (2001) Ammonia volatilization and soil nitrogen dynamics following fall application of pig slurry on canola crop residues. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 81, 515–523.
[7] Chantigny, M.H., Angers, D. A., Rochette, P., Belanger, G. and Masse, D. (2007) Gaseous nitrogen emissions and forage nitrogen uptake on soils fertilized with raw and treated swine manure. Journal of Environmental Quality 36, 1864–1872.
[8] Kirchmann, H. and Lundvall. A. (1993) Relationship between N immobilization and volatile fatty acids in soil after application of pig and cattle slurry. Biology and Fertility of Soils 15, 161–164.
[9] Sommer, S.G. and Husted, S. (1995) The chemical buffer system in raw and digested animal slurry. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 124, 45–53.
[10] Sommer, S.G. and Olesen. J.E. (1991) Effects of drymatter content and temperature on ammonia loss from surface-applied cattle slurry. Journal of Environmental Quality 20, 679–683.
[11] Sommer, S.G. and Sherlock, R.R. (1996) pH and buffer component dynamics in the surface layers of animal slurries. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 127, 109–116.
[12] Sommer, S.G. and Hutchings. N.J. (2001) Ammonia emission from field applied manure and its reduction. European Journal of Agronomy 15, 1–15.
[13] Rubaek, G.H., Henriksen, K., Petersen, J., Rasmussen B. and Sommer, S.G. (1996) Effects of application technique and anaerobic digestion on gaseous nitrogen loss from animal slurry applied to ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 126, 481–492.
[14] Chantigny, M.H., Rochette, P., Angers, D.A., Masse′, D. and Cote′, D. (2004) Ammonia volatilization and selected soil characteristics following application of an-aerobically digested pig slurry. Soil Science Society of America Journal 68, 306–312.
[15] Kirchmann, H. and Bernal, M.P. (1997) Organic waste treatment and C stabilization efficiency. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 29, 1747–1753.
[16] Clemens, J. and Huschka, A. (2001) The effect of biological oxygen demand of cattle slurry and soil moisture on nitrous oxide emissions. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 59, 193–198.
[17] Oenema, O., Wrage, N., Velthof, G.L., Groenigen, J.W., Dolfing, J. and Kuikman, P.J. (2005) Trends in global nitrous oxide emissions from animal production systems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 72, 51–65.
[18] Wulf, S., Maeting, M. and Clemens, J. (2002) Application technique and slurry cofermentation effects on ammonia, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions after spreading: II. Greenhouse gas emissions. Journal of Environmental Quality 31, 1795–1801.
[19] Petersen, S.O. (1999) Nitrous oxide emissions from manure and inorganic fertilizers applied to spring barley. Journal of Environmental Quality 28, 1610–1618.
[20] Vallejo, A., Skiba, U.M., Garcia-Torres, L., Arce, A., Lopez-Fernandez, S. and Sanchez-Martin, L. (2006) Nitrogen oxides emission from soils bearing a potato crop as infl uenced by fertilization with treated pig slurries and composts. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38, 2782–2793.
[21] Schoenau, J.J., Mooleki, P. and Qian, P. (2001) Maximizing the Economic and Environmental Benefit of Land Application of Animal Manure. Report # 96000131. Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization. (January 27, 2012).
[22] Grant, C.A., Jia, S., Brown, K.R. and Bailey, L.D. (1996) Volatile losses of NH3 from surface-applied urea and urea-ammonium nitrate with and without the urease inhibitors NBPT or ammonium thiosulphate. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 76, 417-419.
[23] Technicon Industrial Systems. (1977) Industrial/simultaneous determination of nitrogen and/or phosphorus in BD acid digests. Industrial method no. 334-74W/Bt. Tarrytown, NY, U.S.A.
[24] Livingston, G.P. and Hutchinson, G.L. (1995) Enclosure-based measurement of trace gas exchange: applications and sources of error. In: Matson, P.A. and Harris, R.C., Eds., Biogenic trace gases: measuring emissions from soil and water. Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, UK. 14–51.
[25] Rochette, P., Angers, D.A., Belanger, G., Chantigny, M.H., Prevost, D. and Levesque, G. (2004) Emissions of N2O from alfalfa and soybean crops in eastern Canada. Soil Science Society of America Journal 68, 93–506.
[26] Rochette, P. and Hutchinson, G.L. (2005) Measuring soil respiration using chamber techniques. In: Hatfield, J. and Baker, J.M., Eds., Micrometeorological studies of the soil plant-atmosphere continuum. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, U.S.A. 227-266.
[27] Anthony, W.H., Hutchinson, G.L. and Livingston, G.P. (1995) Chamber measurement of soil-atmosphere gas exchange: Linear vs. diffusion-based flux models. Soil Science Society of America Journal 59, 1308–1310.
[28] Lemke, R.L., Izaurralde, R.C., Nyborg, M. and Solberg, E.D. (1999) Tillage and N-source influence soil-emitted nitrous oxide in the Alberta Parkland region. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 79, 15-24.
[29] SAS Institute, Inc. (2004) SAS product documentation. Version 8. Available at (verified 17 July 2009). SAS Institute, Cary, NC, U.S.A.
[30] Amon, B., Kryvoruchko, V., Amon, T. and Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S. (2006) Methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions during storage and after application of dairy cattle slurry and infl uence of slurry treatment. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment 112, 153–162.
[31] Nyberg, K., Sundh, I., Johansson, M. and Schnürer, A. (2004) Presence of potential ammonia oxidation (PAO) inhibiting substances in anaerobic digestion residues. Applied Soil Ecology 26, 107–112..

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.