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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING SOIL AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINED PRODUCTIVITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Title: Nitrogen source effects on nitrous oxide emissions from irrigated no-till corn

Authors
item Halvorson, Ardell
item Del Grosso, Stephen
item Alluvione, Francesco -

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 14, 2010
Publication Date: August 27, 2010
Citation: Halvorson, A.D., Del Grosso, S.J., Alluvione, F. 2010. Nitrogen source effects on nitrous oxide emissions from irrigated no-till corn. Journal of Environmental Quality 39:1554-1562.

Interpretive Summary: We assessed the ability of commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers to reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions following their application in comparison with conventional dry granular urea and liquid urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizers in an irrigated no-till (NT) corn (Zea mays L.) production system. Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers evaluated were: two polymer-coated urea products (ESN and Duration III), and two fertilizers containing nitrification and urease inhibitors (SuperU and UAN+AgrotainPlus). Nitrous oxide fluxes were measured during two growing seasons using static, vented chambers and a gas chromatograph analyzer. Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers significantly reduced growing season N2O-N emissions in comparison with urea, including UAN. SuperU and UAN+AgrotainPlus had significantly lower N2O-N emissions than with UAN. Compared to urea, SuperU reduced N2O-N emissions 48%, ESN 34%, Duration III 31%, UAN 27%, and UAN+AgrotainPlus 53% averaged over 2 yr. Compared to UAN, UAN+AgrotainPlus reduced N2O emissions 35% and SuperU 29% averaged over 2 yr. The N2O-N loss as a percent of N applied was 0.3% for urea, with all other N sources having significantly lower losses. Grain production was not reduced by the use of alternative N sources. This work shows that enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers can reduce N2O-N emissions without affecting yields from irrigated NT corn systems in the semi-arid central Great Plains.

Technical Abstract: Nitrogen fertilization is essential for optimizing crop yields; however, it may potentially increase nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The study objective was to assess the ability of commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers to reduce N2O emissions following their application in comparison with conventional dry granular urea and liquid urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizers in an irrigated no-till (NT) corn (Zea mays L.) production system. Four enhanced-efficiency fertilizers were evaluated: two polymer-coated urea products (ESN and Duration III), and two fertilizers containing nitrification and urease inhibitors (SuperU and UAN+AgrotainPlus). Nitrous oxide fluxes were measured during two growing seasons using static, vented chambers and a gas chromatograph analyzer. Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers significantly reduced growing season N2O-N emissions in comparison with urea, including UAN. SuperU and UAN+AgrotainPlus had significantly lower N2O-N emissions than UAN. Compared to urea, SuperU reduced N2O-N emissions 48%, ESN 34%, Duration III 31%, UAN 27%, and UAN+AgrotainPlus 53% averaged over 2 yr. Compared to UAN, UAN+AgrotainPlus reduced N2O emissions 35% and SuperU 29% averaged over 2 yr. The N2O-N loss as a percent of N applied was 0.3% for urea, with all other N sources having significantly lower losses. Grain production was not reduced by the use of alternative N sources. This work shows that enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers can potentially reduce N2O-N emissions without affecting yields from irrigated NT corn systems in the semi-arid central Great Plains.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014