How Organic Fertilizers Change Chemical Element Leaching: A Summary of the Lysimeter Studies in Lithuania, 1987-2014
Liudmila Tripolskaja, Eugenija Baksiene, Almantas Razukas, Gvidas Sidlauskas
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Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Voke Branch
Lithuania, Vilnius, Zalioji Aikste 2, LT 02232
Publish date: 2016-11-24
Submission date: 2016-01-13
Final revision date: 2016-06-13
Acceptance date: 2016-06-15
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2016;25(6):2589–2599
Our paper presents summarized results of the lysimetric experiments performed in 1987-2014 to determine the impact of various organic fertilizers (solid and semi-liquid cattle manure, green manure crops, straw) on chemical element leaching (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Cl, Corg), estimates atmospheric precipitation infiltration trends due to varying climatic factors, and discusses changes of soil profile properties in lysimeters after long-term experiments. The experiments were performed at the Vokė branch of the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. Lysimeter surface area is 1.75 m2 and the test soil (sandy loam Luvisol) layer is 0.60 m.
It was determined that under climatic conditions of Lithuania, chemical elements leaching is most intensive in soils heavily fertilized with manure. Every year, from soil fertilized with solid manure (N300) an average of 12.3% nitrogen (which is incorporated with manure) leached. Compared to unfertilized soil, nitrogen leaching increased by 96%. Depending on hydrothermal conditions, during the year of incorporation 2.2-17.2% and during the subsequent year 1.5-5.0% of nitrogen from the incorporated mineral fertilizers leached. Fertilization with solid and semi-liquid cattle manure stimulates leaching of calcium (47-51%), magnesium (46-62%), and chlorine (34-56%), but produces no essential impact on the loss of potassium and sulfur. Cover crops for green manure reduce atmospheric precipitation infiltration in sandy loam soil during autumn, and the effects of nutrient leaching depend on the plant species. Fabaceae plants clover (Trifolium pretense L.) stimulate nitrogen leaching, while Poaceae orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and Brassicaceae fodder radish (Raphanus sativus L.) lessen it. Incorporation of green manure biomass does not alter potassium and calcium leaching, but substantially reduces organic carbon leaching. It was determined that in 1987-2014 on the territory of Lithuania, due to increased average temperatures and lengthening of the spring and autumn periods, annual precipitation infiltration increased (y annual = 17.0x + 267.9 R2 = 0.29) and this enlarges the risk of chemical element leaching. After long-term experiments on agro-technical measures that substantially alter soil properties, the soil in lysimeters should be replaced or left for a few years until the properties are equal again.