Changes in Soil Properties and Enzymatic Activities Following Manure Applications to a Rangeland Academic Article uri icon


  • Manure amendments to rangelands may alter soil functions related to nutrient recycling. We investigated the influence of grazing and cattle manure on soil carbon, nitrogen, Mehlich 3 phosphorus, and activities of alkaline phosphatase and dehydrogenase. Fertilizer treatments (unamended, manure, or urea + potassium dihydrogen phosphate [KH2PO4] fertilizer) were imposed under grazed and nongrazed conditions in a short-grass native rangeland. Manure was applied at rates of 125 kg N ha-1 and 42 kg P ha-1, and urea + KH2PO4 was applied at 75 kg N ha-1 and 20 kg P ha-1 respectively. Total aboveground biomass and soil samples at 4 depths (0-200 mm) were collected throughout 2 growing seasons. A controlled environment study also evaluated fertilizer source effects on enzymatic activities at 5 P rates (0-120 mgkg-1 P as manure or urea + KH2PO4). Amendments significantly (P < 0.05) increased extractable P following the second application for the 3 uppermost depth increments. Extractable P was greatest on manure-amended plots, increasing 44% from February 1999 to July 2000 at the surface. However, increases in P extractability as a proportion of total P applied were similar for manure and KH2PO4. Enzymatic activities were significantly (P < 0.001) influenced by sampling date and soil depth. There were no consistent grazing effects on enzyme activities. Amendments did not influence dehydrogenase activities in the field; however, in the controlled environment, activities averaged 16% greater across all rates for manure-amended soil as compared with urea + KH2PO 4-amended soil (P = 0.025). Phosphatase activities increased significantly following manure applications under both field (P = 0.007) and controlled environment (P = 0.003) conditions. Elevated phosphatase activities following manure applications probably led to enhanced P mineralization and similar P extractabilities as a proportion of total P applied for manure- and KH2PO4 - amended soils. Therefore, when determining applications rates, total manure P should be considered bioavailable.

published proceedings

  • Rangeland Ecology & Management

author list (cited authors)

  • Bell, J. M., Robinson, C. A., & Schwartz, R. C.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006 11:11 AM