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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL APPLICATION OF AGRICULTURAL WASTE TO IMPROVE CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Tillage and Fertilizer Application Practices Effects on Greenhouse Gas Flux (CO2, CH4 and N2O) and Yield in a Corn Cropping System

Authors
item WATTS, DEXTER
item Smith, K -
item WAY, THOMAS
item TORBERT, HENRY
item PRIOR, STEPHEN

Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2009
Publication Date: June 15, 2009
Citation: Watts, D.B., Smith, K.E., Way, T.R., Torbert III, H.A., Prior, S.A. 2009. Tillage and fertilizer application practices effects on greenhouse gas flux (CO2, CH4 and N2O) and yield in a corn cropping system. In: Sustainable Agriculture, Proceedings of 18th International Conference of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization, June 15-19, 2009, Izmir, Turkey. 2009 CDROM. p. 13.

Interpretive Summary: Tillage and fertilization practices used in row crop production are thought to alter greenhouse gas emissions from soil. Thus, a field experiment was conducted at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center located in the Appalachian Plateau region of Northeast Alabama. Measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions were evaluated to assess the effects of different tillage (conventional vs. no-tillage) and fertilizer application (subsurface banding vs. surface application) practices in a corn cropping system. Surface application of fertilizers resulted in the greatest concentration of gaseous loss compared to banding of fertilizers. Conventional tillage practices also resulted in higher concentrations of gas emissions compared to no-tillage practices. These results suggest that organic fertilizers and banding practices increased greenhouse gas emissions, while inorganic fertilizers and banding practices resulted in higher yields.

Technical Abstract: Tillage and fertilization practices used in row crop production are thought to alter greenhouse gas emissions from soil. Thus, a field experiment was conducted at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center located in the Appalachian Plateau region of Northeast Alabama on a Hartsells fine sandy loam. Measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions were evaluated using GRACEnet protocols to assess the effects of different tillage (conventional vs. no-tillage) and fertilizer application (subsurface banding vs. surface application) practices in a corn cropping system. In addition, stover weight, ear dry weight, grain yield, nitrogen (N) content of stover and grain, root dry weight, and root pull force were quantified to understand how these management practices impacted crop response. Fertilizer sources consisted of urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN), ammonium nitrate (AN) and poultry litter (M) applied at a rate of 170 kg ha-1 of available N. Surface application of fertilizers resulted in the greatest concentration of gaseous loss compared to banding of fertilizers. Conventional tillage practices also resulted in higher concentrations of gas emissions compared to no-tillage practices. These results suggest that organic fertilizers and banding practices increased greenhouse gas emissions, while inorganic fertilizers and banding practices resulted in higher yields.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014