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Influence of different nitrogen rates and DMPP nitrification inhibitor on annual N2/O emissions from a subtropical wheat–maize cropping system

De Antoni Migliorati, Massimiliano and Scheer, Clemens and Grace, Peter R and Rowlings, David W and Bell, Mike and McGree, James (2014) Influence of different nitrogen rates and DMPP nitrification inhibitor on annual N2/O emissions from a subtropical wheat–maize cropping system. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 186 . pp. 33-43. ISSN 0167-8809

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.01.016

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880914000383

Abstract

Global cereal production will need to increase by 50% to 70% to feed a world population of about 9 billion by 2050. This intensification is forecast to occur mostly in subtropical regions, where warm and humid conditions can promote high N2O losses from cropped soils. To secure high crop production without exacerbating N2O emissions, new nitrogen (N) fertiliser management strategies are necessary. This one-year study evaluated the efficacy of a nitrification inhibitor (3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate—DMPP) and different N fertiliser rates to reduce N2O emissions in a wheat–maize rotation in subtropical Australia. Annual N2O emissions were monitored using a fully automated greenhouse gas measuring system. Four treatments were fertilized with different rates of urea, including a control (40 kg-N ha−1 year−1), a conventional N fertiliser rate adjusted on estimated residual soil N (120 kg-N ha−1 year−1), a conventional N fertiliser rate (240 kg-N ha−1 year−1) and a conventional N fertiliser rate (240 kg-N ha−1 year−1) with nitrification inhibitor (DMPP) applied at top dressing. The maize season was by far the main contributor to annual N2O emissions due to the high soil moisture and temperature conditions, as well as the elevated N rates applied. Annual N2O emissions in the four treatments amounted to 0.49, 0.84, 2.02 and 0.74 kg N2O–N ha−1 year−1, respectively, and corresponded to emission factors of 0.29%, 0.39%, 0.69% and 0.16% of total N applied. Halving the annual conventional N fertiliser rate in the adjusted N treatment led to N2O emissions comparable to the DMPP treatment but extensively penalised maize yield. The application of DMPP produced a significant reduction in N2O emissions only in the maize season. The use of DMPP with urea at the conventional N rate reduced annual N2O emissions by more than 60% but did not affect crop yields. The results of this study indicate that: (i) future strategies aimed at securing subtropical cereal production without increasing N2O emissions should focus on the fertilisation of the summer crop; (ii) adjusting conventional N fertiliser rates on estimated residual soil N is an effective practice to reduce N2O emissions but can lead to substantial yield losses if the residual soil N is not assessed correctly; (iii) the application of DMPP is a feasible strategy to reduce annual N2O emissions from sub-tropical wheat–maize rotations. However, at the N rates tested in this study DMPP urea did not increase crop yields, making it impossible to recoup extra costs associated with this fertiliser. The findings of this study will support farmers and policy makers to define effective fertilisation strategies to reduce N2O emissions from subtropical cereal cropping systems while maintaining high crop productivity. More research is needed to assess the use of DMPP urea in terms of reducing conventional N fertiliser rates and subsequently enable a decrease of fertilisation costs and a further abatement of fertiliser-induced N2O emissions.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Field crops
Deposited On:03 Jul 2014 02:02
Last Modified:03 Jul 2014 02:02

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