Nitrogen in manure and its forms

Nitrogen, essential element

Nitrogen, which is abundant in nature in its gaseous form N2, makes up about 78% of the atmosphere. It is an essential element of living matter, it is one of the major components of the amino acids, proteins and nucleic acids of DNA and RNA.

Nitrogen follows an air, soil and water cycle during which it undergoes various chemical and biological transformations.

Essential element for plants, it is one of the macroelements, along with phosphorus and potassium, which play an essential role in fertilization. Balanced contributions of nitrogen N contribute to the photosynthetic activity of the plant, and allow an important vegetative growth. Nitrogen consists to a lesser extent of substances that can be formed from nitrogen oxides and ammonia as a result of chemical reactions: nitrites, nitrates and ammonium (NO2, NO3, NH4+ ) or ammonium sulphate and nitrate in the form of NH4)SO4, (NH4)NO3.

Nitrogen in Manure and its forms

Nitrogen in manure comes in two forms: ammonia nitrogen (NH4), and organic nitrogen.

Ammoniacal nitrogen, is immediately available to crops if it is not lost through volatilization or leaching after nitrification.

Nitrification is the biological oxidation of ammonia to nitrite followed by the oxidation of nitrite to nitrate. Nitrification is an important step in the nitrogen cycle in the soil. Nitrification is an aerobic process carried out by various bacteria. As mentioned earlier, however, ammonia nitrogen volatilizes quickly, especially in the hours following application. Volatilization losses vary in magnitude depending on factors such as the ammonia nitrogen content of the effluent, pH, temperature, and wind speed.

These losses reduce the amount of nitrogen available to the crop and consequently reduce the fertilizing virtues of the effluent. These losses, depending on the conditions mentioned above, can reach 80% for slurry.

Organic nitrogen, on the other hand, is degraded by soil microorganisms, depending on certain conditions, and is mineralized to become assimilable by plants over the long term. The rate of mineralization depends on the characteristics of the humus, essentially its pH, moisture and biological content (C/N ratio) (carbon – nitrogen).

Solugen ammonia nitrogen

Solugen’s slurry treatment process allows the extraction of ammoniacal nitrogen in liquid form (NH4OH). This natural fertilizer in its liquid form offers the advantage that it is less volatile than ammonia nitrogen NH4+, especially if it is applied in fertigation. Fertigation is an agricultural technique consisting of applying water-soluble fertilizers through an irrigation system.  The use of liquid fertilizer also offers a number of advantages, according to a study by Michigan State University.

-Ease of handling and application.

-Ease of mixing.

-Uniformity of application.

-Starter and mid-season correction.