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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011, Article ID 161079, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/161079
Research Article

Predicting Mineral N Release during Decomposition of Organic Wastes in Soil by Use of the SOILN_NO Model

1Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, 1432 Aas, Norway
2Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, P.O. Box 5091 Majorstua, 0301 Oslo, Norway

Received 15 December 2010; Accepted 2 March 2011

Academic Editor: Silvana I. Torri

Copyright © 2011 Trine A. Sogn and Lars Egil Haugen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In order to predict the mineral N release associated with the use of organic waste as fertilizer in agricultural plant production, the adequacy of the SOILN_NO model has been evaluated. The original thought was that the model calibrated to data from simple incubation experiments could predict the mineral N release from organic waste products used as N fertilizer on agricultural land. First, the model was calibrated to mineral N data achieved in a laboratory experiment where different organic wastes were added to soil and incubated at 15°C for 8 weeks. Secondly, the calibrated model was tested by use of NO3 leaching data from soil columns with barley growing in 4 different soil types, added organic waste and exposed to natural climatic conditions during three growing seasons. The SOILN_NO model reproduced relatively well the NO3 leaching from some of the soils included in the outdoor experiment, but failed to reproduce others. Use of the calibrated model often induced underestimation of the observed NO3 leaching. To achieve a satisfactory simulation of the NO3 leaching, recalibration of the model had to be carried out. Thus, SOILN_NO calibrated to data from simple incubation experiments in the laboratory could not directly be used as a tool to predict the N-leaching following organic waste application in more natural agronomic plant production systems. The results emphasised the need for site- and system-specific data for model calibration before using a model for predictive purposes related to fertilizer N value of organic wastes applied to agricultural land.