Anhydrous ammonia application losses using single-disc and knife fertilizer injector

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2005-01-01
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Boyd, Paul
Baker, James
Colvin, Thomas
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Hanna, H. Mark
Extension Agricultural Engineer
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

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In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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1905–present

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is injected below the soil surface during application to limit loss to the atmosphere. Application at a shallower depth may reduce tractor power or allow greater speed, which could increase field capacity if NH3 losses are held to acceptable levels. Losses of NH3 during, and for 1 h after, field application were measured from a typical knife injector treatment operated at a 15-cm (6-in.) depth and 8-km/h (5-mph) travel speed and from a single-disc injector operated at shallower depths [5 and 10 cm (2 and 4 in.)] and a range of travel speeds [8, 12, and 16 km/h (5, 7.5, and 10 mph)]. NH3 losses during application as measured with a hood over the single-disc injector were 3% to 7% in clay loam, silty clay loam, and loam soils and 21% to 52% in a coarser-textured fine sandy loam soil. Applying with a knife injector at deeper depth resulted in losses of 1% to 2% across all soil types. NH3 losses measured during an hour after application with stationary collection over the injection trench were 1% or less for all treatments. Losses during application were 5 to 55 times greater than during the first hour after application.

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This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 21 (2005): 573–578, doi:10.13031/2013.18564.

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