Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 335–345 | Cite as

Stand age affects emissions of N2O in flood-irrigated alfalfa: a comparison of field measurements, DNDC model simulations and IPCC Tier 1 estimates

  • Martin Burger
  • Van R. Haden
  • Han Chen
  • Johan Six
  • William R. Horwath
Original Article
  • 252 Downloads

Abstract

Predicting N2O emissions in perennial legume systems, such as alfalfa (Medicago sativa), is challenging due to the uncertainty regarding the interaction of biologically fixed nitrogen (N) with carbon sources, soil properties, and management factors. We measured alfalfa yields, N2O fluxes, and soil variables in adjacent flood-irrigated commercial fields with 2nd and 5th year stands of alfalfa planted in clay soil in California during one year. Cumulative annual N2O emissions from the 5th year alfalfa stand were 5.26 (±0.55 standard error) kg N2O–N ha−1 and more than twice as large as those in the adjacent 2nd year stand, which were 2.26 (±0.25) kg N2O–N ha−1. Annual yields of the 5th and 2nd year alfalfa stands were 12.1 and 14.1 Mg dry matter ha−1, respectively. Annual emissions calculated according to current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2006) methodology underestimated emissions by 74% (2nd year stand) and 90% (5th year stand), which highlights the limitation of estimating N2O emissions based solely on the biomass N inputs incorporated into the soil. The DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model, using as inputs soil properties, water inputs, yield potential, and climate data accurately predicted cumulative annual N2O emissions from both the 5th year (5.6 kg N2O–N ha−1) and the 2nd year (2.2 kg N2O–N ha−1) alfalfa stands, although there were discrepancies between measured and modeled daily flux values. The potential accumulation and mineralization of organic matter as a result of alfalfa root turnover is the most likely explanation for the increase in N2O emissions with stand age.

Keywords

Root turnover Carbon availability Dissolved organic carbon Nitrogen mineralization 

Supplementary material

10705_2016_9808_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 40 kb)

References

  1. Angers DA (1992) Changes in soil aggregation and organic carbon under corn and alfalfa. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:1244–1249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AOAC (2006) Microchemical determination of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Chapter 12. In: Horwitz W, Latimer GW (eds) Official methods of analysis, 18th edn, Revision 1. AOAC International, Gaithersburg, pp 5–6Google Scholar
  3. Babu JY, Li C, Frolking S, Nayak DR, Adhya TK (2006) Field validation of DNDC model for methane and nitrous oxide emissions from rice-based production systems of India. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 74:157–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baggs EM, Rees RM, Smith KA, Vinten AJA (2000) Nitrous oxide emission from soils after incorporating crop residues. Soil Use Manag 16:82–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolinder MA, Angers DA, Belanger G, Michaud R, Laverdiere MR (2002) Root biomass and shoot to root ratios of perennial forage crops in eastern Canada. Can J Plant Sci 82:731–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouwman AF, Boumans LJM, Batjes NH (2002) Emissions of N2O and NO from fertilized fields: summary of available measurement data. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 16(4):6-1–6-13Google Scholar
  7. Bowren KE, Cooke DA, Downey RK (1969) Yield of dry matter and nitrogen from tops and roots of sweetclover, alfalfa, and red clover at 5 stages of growth. Can J Plant Sci 49:61–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bremner JM (1996) Nitrogen-Total. In: Black CA (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part 3. Chemical methods. SSSA, ASA, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  9. Brophy LS, Heichel GH (1989) Nitrogen release from roots of alfalfa and soybean grown in sand culture. Plant Soil 116:77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butterbach-Bahl K, Baggs EM, Dannenmann M, Kiese R, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S (2013) Nitrous oxide emissions from soils: how well do we understand the processes and their controls? Philos T R Soc B 368:20130122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canevari M, Putnam DH (2007) Managing depleted alfalfa stands: Overseeding and other options. Chapter 15. In: Summers CG, Putnam DH (eds) Irrigated alfalfa management for mediterranean and desert zones. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  12. Doane TA, Horwath WR (2003) Spectrophotometric determination of nitrate with a single reagent. Anal Lett 36:2713–2722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dobbie KE, McTaggart IP, Smith KA (1999) Nitrous oxide emissions from intensive agricultural systems: Variations between crops and seasons, key driving variables, and mean emission factors. J Geophys Res: Atmos 104:26891–26899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dumas JBA (1832) Sur les procédés de l’analyse organique. Ann Chem Phys 47(2):198–213Google Scholar
  15. Duxbury JM, Bouldin DR, Terry RE, Tate RL (1982) Emissions of nitrous oxide from soils. Nature 298:462–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellert BH, Janzen HH (2008) Nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane emissions from irrigated cropping systems as influenced by legumes, manure and fertilizer. Can J Soil Sci 88:207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forster JC (1995) Soil nitrogen. In: Alef K, Nannipieri P (eds) Methods in applied soil microbiology and biochemistry. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 79–87Google Scholar
  18. Goins GD, Russelle MP (1996) Fine root demography in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Plant Soil 185:281–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hanson B, Putnam DH (2004) Flood irrigation of alfalfa: how does it behave? In: Proceedings 34th national alfalfa symposium, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  20. Hutchinson GL, Davidson EA (1993) Processes for production and consumption of gaseous nitrogen oxides in soil. In: Rolston DE (ed) Agricultural ecosystem effects on trace gases and global climate change, vol ASA Special publication no. 55. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, pp 79–90Google Scholar
  21. Hutchinson GL, Livingston GP (1993) Use of chamber systems to measure trace gas fluxes. In: Rolston DE (ed) Agricultural ecosystem effects on trace gases and global climate. ASA Special publication no. 55. Madison, pp 63–78Google Scholar
  22. Hutchinson GL, Mosier AR (1981) Improved soil cover method for field measurement of nitrous oxide fluxes. Soil Sci Soc Am J 45:311–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IPCC (2006) N2O emissions from managed soils, and CO2 emissions from lime and urea application. In: Eggleston HS, Buendia L, Miwa K, Ngara T, Tanabe K (eds) Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. Chapter 11: Agriculture, forestry, and other land use. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, HayamaGoogle Scholar
  24. Jensen ES, Peoples MB, Boddey RM, Gresshoff PM, Hauggaard-Nielsen H, Alves BJR, Morrison MJ (2012) Legumes for mitigation of climate change and the provision of feedstock for biofuels and biorefineries: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 32:329–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kallenbach CM, Rolston DE, Horwath WR (2010) Cover cropping affects soil N(2)O and CO(2) emissions differently depending on type of irrigation. Agric Ecosyst Environ 137:251–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kennedy TL, Suddick EC, Six J (2013) Reduced nitrous oxide emissions and increased yields in California tomato cropping systems under drip irrigation and fertigation. Agr Ecosyst Environ 170:16–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li C (2011) Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agroecosystems: Scientific basis and modeling approach. In: Guo L, Gunasekara AS, McConnell LL (eds) Understanding greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural management. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 299–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Li C, Frolking S, Frolking TA (1992) A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events: 1. Model structure and sensitivity. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 97:9759–9776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Li C, Narayanan V, Harriss RC (1996) Model estimates of nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural lands in the United States. Global Biogeochem Cycles 10:297–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. MacKenzie AF, Fan MX, Cadrin F (1998) Nitrous oxide emission in three years as affected by tillage, corn-soybean-alfalfa rotations, and nitrogen fertilization. J Environ Qual 27:698–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morley N, Baggs EM (2010) Carbon and oxygen controls on N2O and N2 production during nitrate reduction. Soil Biol Biogeochem 42:1864–1871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O’Hara GW, Daniel RM (1985) Rhizobial denitrification: a review. Soil Biol Biogeochem 17:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Putnam DH, Summers CG (2008) Alfalfa production systems in California. In: Summers CG, Putnam DH (eds) Irrigated Alfalfa management for mediterranean and desert zones. University of California Davis, Davis, pp 1–19Google Scholar
  34. Putnam DH, Summers CG, Orloff SB (2007) Alfalfa production systems. Publication 8287. University of California Davis, DavisGoogle Scholar
  35. Robertson GP, Groffman PA (2015) Nitrogen transformations. In: Paul EA (ed) Soil microbiology, ecology and biochemistry. Academic Press, Burlington MA, pp 421–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Robertson GP, Paul EA, Harwood RR (2000) Greenhouse gases in intensive agriculture: contributions of individual gases to the radiative forcing of the atmosphere. Science (Washington DC) 289:1922–1925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rochette P, Janzen HH (2005) Towards a revised coefficient for estimating N2O emissions from legumes. Nutr Cycle Agroecosyst 73:171–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rochette P, Angers DA, Belanger G, Chantigny MH, Prevost D, Levesque G (2004) Emissions of N2O from alfalfa and soybean crops in eastern Canada. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:493–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Russelle MP, Allan DL, Gourley CJP (1994) Direct assessment of symbiotically fixed nitrogen in the rhizosphere of alfalfa. Plant Soil 159:233–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sanchez-Martin L, Arce A, Benito A, Garcia-Torres L, Vallejo A (2008) Influence of drip and furrow irrigation systems on nitrogen oxide emissions from a horticultural crop. Soil Biol Biogeochem 40:1698–1706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Simojoki A, Jaakkola A (2000) Effect of nitrogen fertilization, cropping and irrigation on soil air composition and nitrous oxide emission in a loamy clay. Eur J Soil Sci 51:413–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Skuodiene R, Tomchuk D (2015) Root mass and root to shoot ratio of different perennial forage plants under western Lithuania climatic conditions. Rom Agric Res 32:209–219Google Scholar
  43. Smith P et al (1997) A comparison of the performance of nine organic matter models using datasets from seven long-term experiments. Geoderma 81:153–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith KA, Ball T, Conen F, Dobbie KE, Massheder J, Rey A (2003) Exchange of greenhouse gases between soil and atmosphere: interactions of soil physical factors and biological processes. Eur J Soil Sci 54:779–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith WN, Grant BB, Desjardins RL, Rochette P, Drury CF, Li C (2008) Evaluation of two process-based models to estimate soil N2O emissions in Eastern Canada. Can J Soil Sci 88:251–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. USDA (1992) Soil survey laboratory method manual. Soil Survey Investigation Report no. 42.8Google Scholar
  47. USDA (2015) Crop production 2015 summary. National Agricultural Statistics ServiceGoogle Scholar
  48. Uzoma KC et al (2015) Assessing the effects of agricultural management on nitrous oxide emissions using flux measurements and the DNDC model. Agric Ecosyst Environ 206:71–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wagner-Riddle C, Thurtell GW, King KM, Kidd GE, Beauchamp EG (1996) Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide fluxes from a bare soil using a micrometeorological approach. J Environ Qual 25:898–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Walley FL, Tomm GO, Matus A, Slinkard AE, vanKessel C (1996) Allocation and cycling of nitrogen in an alfalfa-bromegrass sward. Agron J 88:834–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams E et al. (2014) Nitrous oxide emission factors for biological nitrogen fixation from legumes: a reassessment (2014) Paper presented at the 13th Congress of the European Society of Agronomy Debrecen, Hungary, 25–29 AugustGoogle Scholar
  52. Yang SM et al (2008) Alfalfa benefits from Medicago truncatula: the RCT1 gene from M-truncatula confers broad-spectrum resistance to anthracnose in alfalfa. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 105:12164–12169CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhu X, Burger M, Doane TA, Horwath WR (2013) Ammonia oxidation pathways and nitrifier denitrification are significant sources of N2O and NO under low oxygen availability. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 110:6328–6333CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Land, Air, and Water ResourcesUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural Technical InstituteThe Ohio State UniversityWoosterUSA
  3. 3.Key Lab for Earth System Numerical Simulation, Center for Earth System ScienceTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations