International Journal of Agronomy

Effectiveness of Livestock Manure Fertilization and Nitrogen Losses Assessment

Publishing date
01 Dec 2019
Submission deadline
26 Jul 2019

1University of Naples Federico II, Portici, Italy

2INRA-AgroParisTech, Thiverval-Grignon, France

This issue is now closed for submissions.

Effectiveness of Livestock Manure Fertilization and Nitrogen Losses Assessment

This issue is now closed for submissions.


Intensive livestock production systems represent a strategic sector for food production in many places of the world. Livestock manure management, storage, and especially field application for crop productions have large environmental impacts related to the considerable losses of reactive nitrogen (N) in the form of nitrate in groundwater, ammonia, and nitrous oxide in atmosphere. Ammonia (NH3) volatilization during manure application is the main source of NH3 in Europe (55 % of the emissions), contributing to soil acidification and formation of secondary inorganic aerosols. Nitrate (NO3) leaching is often the main way of reactive nitrogen losses causing, as well as NH3, eutrophication of water bodies and loss of biodiversity in seminatural systems and affecting farmers’ income reducing fertilization efficiency of manure. Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission into the atmosphere is the main non-CO2 atmospheric gas emitted by agricultural activity and has a strong effect on climate perturbation and atmospheric chemistry in depleting stratospheric ozone.

Effective emissions-reducing strategies and consolidated measurement methods to quantify emissions are key aspects, which contribute to the decrease of the environmental impact of livestock production and to the increase of the reliability of the estimation. An appropriate management of manure-based cropping systems can significantly reduce N losses through the well-established practices of crop rotation and valorisation of manures through appropriate treatments before field application as well as customized application techniques. However, reliable information about the mitigation performances of agronomic strategies is still lacking, due to scarce representativeness of measurement methods or the absence of data. In this context, there is still a need of an integrated approach, able to consider the fertilization practice as a sustainable practice from an environmental and agronomic perspective, including crop production increase and farm profitability.

Papers targeted to assess the efficiency of the fertilization practices in areas with different pedoclimatic conditions are welcome. Moreover, studies focused on N release quantification of raw or pretreated manure, with conventional or nonconventional measurement methods, are highly encouraged. Finally, the identification of mitigation strategies and improved nutrient management practices are also of interest.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Comparison of cropping systems and agro-techniques aimed at increasing the nitrogen use efficiency in cropland and grassland under manure fertilization; reducing nitrate-N releases to the groundwater
  • Assessment of the agronomic value of organic waste products and of manure from different livestock production systems or pretreatment processes
  • Field trials aimed at studying the impact of manure fertilization on the main processes of soil N cycling
  • Field trials focused on comparison among different methodologies for measuring nitrogen losses as ammonia or nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils after manure spreading
  • Modeling of the reactive nitrogen fate, from new formalism in the implicated processes to the field or regional scale applications
  • Literature reviews describing the state of the art about livestock fertilization and reactive nitrogen releases in environment and the suggestion of methodological improvement
International Journal of Agronomy
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