Urine patch size and nitrogen load: effects on nitrogen uptake from the urine patch in plantain and ryegrass/white clover pastures

  • Mark A Shepherd AgResearch
  • Bill T Carlson AgResearch


Field measurements from micro-plots (0.20 - 0.36 m2) of perennial ryegrass/white clover and of pure plantain were used to mimic a urine patch (UP) and to test the effects of UP nitrogen (N) load and size on pasture N offtake. Urine N offtake was greater with plantain than with standard pasture; however, the relative contribution to uptake from the wetted area and surrounding edge was the same for both species. Most (>90%) of the apparent offtake of urine N by plantain and standard pastures was within 20 cm of the edge of the UP. For the two urine patch sizes tested, edge contribution to urine N offtake was on average about 30% of the total from the UP, but was higher for at 600 kg N/ha urine N (45%) than at 300 kg N/ha (18%). Understanding this edge contribution is important for model improvement, and for the development of mitigations to decrease N leaching.


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