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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To investigate the impact of Agrotain Plus and ESN (control released N sources) on greenhouse gas emissions and N availability to corn in co-application with poultry litter under a no-till production system.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Nitrogen source studies will be conducted at seven ARS locations (Fort Collins, CO; Ames, IA; St. Paul, MN; Pullman, WA; Auburn, AL; Bowling Green, KY and University Park, PA) to collect greenhouse gas emissions data from corn, cotton, wheat, and potato cropping systems (varies with location). The Bowling Green, KY location will conduct Field Plot experiments utilizing control released N fertilizers alone or in combination with poultry litter for a no-till corn production. Greenhouse gases such as CH4, CO2, and N2O will be determined on a timely schedule. Soil samples will be taken periodically to determine the N status in soil and finally corn grain yield will be determined to select the most efficient treatment. The experiment will be designed scientifically sound to include control treatment and four replications.

3. Progress Report:
This is the final report but the project is not being terminated due to funds not being fully used at this time. Plans are to to use funds for travel to present research from this project. Increasing demand for food and agricultural products directly relates to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly the three primary gases associated with agriculture [nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and carbon dioxide (CO2)]. Nitrogen (N) is one of the most important nutrients required for the survival of all living organisms and it is ubiquitous in the environment. Commercial N fertilizers and organic N sources such as animal manure stimulate N losses mainly through biochemical processes. Commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers and slow-release fertilizers can potentially increase the N-use efficiency by crops and reduce N losses. We investigated the effects of N2O, CH4, and CO2 emissions from application of several commonly used inorganic N fertilizers, commercially available enhanced-efficiency N fertilizer, and poultry litter under no-till corn production in a study funded by USDA-ARS and partially by Agrotain International and Agrium Advanced Technologies for two years. Specifically, we quantified and compared growing season fluxes of N2O, CH4, and CO2 resulting from application of 168 kg N/ha from six inorganic chemical N fertilizers and poultry litter as follow: dry granular urea (U) (46% N), liquid urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) (28% N), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) (34% N), ESN (44% N), Super urea (SuperU) (46% N), UAN + AgrotainPlus (28% N), poultry litter (3% N), poultry litter + AgrotainPlus (3% N), and a control treatment that received no chemical fertilizer or poultry litter for two years in 2009 and 2010, using static, vented chambers. No significant differences were observed in N2O emissions among the enhanced-efficiency N fertilizers and other N fertilizer sources. The CH4 and CO2 emissions were impacted by the environmental factors more than the N source. Results demonstrated that N fertilizer source and climate conditions need consideration when selecting N fertilizer that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Further research is needed in different geographical and climatic regions to determine the effects of other management and environmental conditions on greenhouse gas emissions from different crop production systems. Results from the study were published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality. The research was also presented in San Antonio, TX, at the Annual Meeting of the Soil Science Society of America in October 2011.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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