Effect of enhanced efficiency fertilisers on nitrous oxide emissions in a sub-tropical cereal cropping system

Scheer, Clemens, Rowlings, David W., De Antoni Migliorati, Massimiliano, Lester, David W., Bell, Mike J., & Grace, Peter R. (2016) Effect of enhanced efficiency fertilisers on nitrous oxide emissions in a sub-tropical cereal cropping system. Soil Research, 54(5), pp. 544-551.

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To meet the global food demand in the coming decades, crop yields per unit area must increase. This can only be achieved by a further intensification of existing cropping systems and will require even higher inputs of N fertilisers, which may result in increased losses of nitrous oxide (N2O) from cropped soils. Enhanced efficiency fertilisers (EEFs) have been promoted as a potential strategy to mitigate N2O emissions and improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in cereal cropping systems. However, only limited data are currently available on the use of different EEF products in sub-tropical cereal systems. A field experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of three different EEFs on N2O emissions, NUE and yield in a sub-tropical summer cereal cropping system in Australia. Over an entire year soil N2O fluxes were monitored continuously (3h sampling frequency) with a fully-automated measuring system. The experimental site was fertilised with different nitrogen (N) fertilisers applied at 170kgNha-1, namely conventional urea (Urea), urea with the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP), polymer-coated urea (PCU), and urea with the nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin (Nitrapyrin). Nitrous oxide emissions were highly episodic and mainly controlled by heavy rainfall events within two months of planting and fertiliser N application. Annual N2O emissions in the four treatments amounted to 2.31, 0.40, 0.69 and 1.58kgN2O-Nha-1year-1 for Urea, DMPP, PCU and Nitrapyrin treatments, respectively, while unfertilised plots produced an average of 0.16kgN2O-Nha-1year-1. Two of the tested products (DMPP and PCU) were found to be highly effective, decreasing annual N2O losses by 83% and 70%, respectively, but did not affect yield or NUE. This study shows that EEFs have a high potential to decrease N2O emissions from sub-tropical cereal cropping systems. More research is needed to assess if the increased costs of EEFs can be compensated by lower fertiliser application rates and/or yield increases.

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ID Code: 98692
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1071/SR15332
ISSN: 1838-675X
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 CSIRO
Deposited On: 06 Sep 2016 23:06
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 00:08

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