Nitrous oxide emissions from irrigated wheat in Australia : impact of irrigation management
Scheer, Clemens, Grace, Peter R., Rowlings, David W., & Payero, Jose (2012) Nitrous oxide emissions from irrigated wheat in Australia : impact of irrigation management. Plant and Soil, 359(1-2), pp. 351-362.
Background and Aims: Irrigation management affects soil water dynamics as well as the soil microbial carbon and nitrogen turnover and potentially the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gasses (GHG). We present a study on the effect of three irrigation treatments on the emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) from irrigated wheat on black vertisols in South-Eastern Queensland, Australia.
Methods: Soil N2O fluxes from wheat were monitored over one season with a fully automated system that measured emissions on a sub-daily basis. Measurements were taken from 3 subplots for each treatment within a randomized split-plot design.
Results: Highest N2O emissions occurred after rainfall or irrigation and the amount of irrigation water applied was found to influence the magnitude of these “emission pulses”. Daily N2O emissions varied from -0.74 to 20.46 g N2O-N ha-1 day-1 resulting in seasonal losses ranging from 0.43 to 0.75 kg N2O N ha-1 season -1 for the different irrigation treatments. Emission factors (EF = proportion of N fertilizer emitted as N2O) over the wheat cropping season, uncorrected for background emissions, ranged from 0.2 to 0.4% of total N applied for the different treatments. Highest seasonal N2O emissions were observed in the treatment with the highest irrigation intensity; however, the N2O intensity (N2O emission per crop yield) was highest in the treatment with the lowest irrigation intensity.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that timing and amount of irrigation can effectively be used to reduce N2O losses from irrigated agricultural systems; however, in order to develop sustainable mitigation strategies the N2O intensity of a cropping system is an important concept that needs to be taken into account.
Impact and interest:
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