EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Exploring nitrogen losses from urine patches between upland and lowland grazing systems

Danielle Hunt1, David Jones1,2, Laura Cardenas3, and David Chadwick1
Danielle Hunt et al.
  • 1Bangor University, School of Natural Sciences , United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2SoilsWest, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia
  • 3Sustainable Agriculture Sciences, Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK

Urine patches in grassland ecosystems present unique environments where extreme nitrogen (N) loading occurs. This results in N losses into the atmosphere or leaching from soil. N losses vary due to climate conditions, soil conditions, and management practices. However, we do not fully understand how these factors influence N cycling and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from urine patches. Much of the current literature on urine patch N cycling has focused on typical lowland agricultural systems. Very little work has explored other grazing systems, such as upland farming which is conducted across much of Wales. We have investigated this by using a catena sequence crossing both upland and lowland agricultural grazing systems. The range of soil types allowed us to explore how N2O emissions and N losses vary under different conditions. Here we report on both a laboratory incubation and a mesocosm experiment examining these issues. This work should help to fill the knowledge gap around how emissions from urine patches could vary between UK uplands and lowlands. We hope to improve understanding of N losses and provide more realistic, regional, and accurate emission factors for upland farming systems.

How to cite: Hunt, D., Jones, D., Cardenas, L., and Chadwick, D.: Exploring nitrogen losses from urine patches between upland and lowland grazing systems, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9843,, 2020


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