Nitrogen dynamics in soils cultivated with maize and fertilized with pig slurry

  • Denise Freitas Silva Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
  • Camilo Lelis Teixeira Andrade Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
  • Álvaro Vilela Resende Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
  • Clério Hickmann Universidade Federal de Larvas
  • Tales Antônio Amaral Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Maria Emília Borges Alves National Agriculture Confederation
Keywords: environmental contamination, leaching, maize yield, Zea mays L.


The proper disposal of pig manure is of great importance because, when mishandled, it can contaminate water resources. This study aimed to evaluate the nitrogen dynamics in a Cerrado Oxisol and its absorption, over time, by a maize crop managed with pig slurry associated with mineral fertilization (N P K). The study was conducted at a private farm, in the region of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The maize crop was able to recover 62% of the mineral nitrogen that entered the soil-plant system, while 9% leached as nitrate and, to a lesser amount, as ammonium. The maximum average content of nitrate and ammonium of 92 kg ha-1 and 43 kg ha-1, respectively, was observed in the 0 to 0.3 m soil layer during the early crop development stage. A minimum content of 5.8 kg ha-1 of nitrate and 9.0 kg ha-1 of ammonium, respectively, was measured at the end of the cycle. In addition, the nitrate content at that soil layer, at the end of the maize cycle, remained below the values measured at the native Cerrado, indicating that the agricultural use of the land poses no additional risk to the nitrate accumulation and leaching into the soil profile.

Author Biographies

Denise Freitas Silva, Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
Engenheira Agrícola -UFV Mestrado e Doutorado - Recursos Hídricos e Ambientais -UFV e Pós-Doutorado - Embrapa Milho e Sorgo e Profª. de Hidráulica -UNIFEMM
Camilo Lelis Teixeira Andrade, Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
Agricultural Engineer, Ph.D. Irrigation Engineering, Researcher
Álvaro Vilela Resende, Embrapa Milho e Sorgo
Agronomist, DSc Soil Fertility, Researcher
Clério Hickmann, Universidade Federal de Larvas
Agronomist, D.Sc Candidate UFLA
Tales Antônio Amaral, Universidade Federal de Pelotas
Biologist, D.Sc Candidate UFPEL
Maria Emília Borges Alves, National Agriculture Confederation
Agricultural Engineer, D.Sc. Agr. Meteorology