Advertisement

Nitrogen loss and greenhouse gas flux across an intensification gradient in diversified vegetable rotations

  • Debendra ShresthaEmail author
  • Ole Wendroth
  • Krista L. Jacobsen
Original Article

Abstract

Vegetable production area is growing rapidly world-wide, yet information on nitrogen (N) losses, greenhouse gas emissions, and input efficiency is lacking. Sustainable intensification of these systems requires improved understanding of how to optimize nutrient and water inputs for improved yields while minimizing N losses. In this study, a 3-year vegetable crop rotation spanning an intensification gradient is investigated in Kentucky, USA: (1) a low input organic (LI), (2) high tunnel organic (HT), and (3) conventional (CONV) system. The objectives were to (1) characterize soil mineral N pools and NO3–N leaching, (2) quantify CO2 and N2O fluxes, and (3) relate crop yield to global warming potential (GWP) caused by CO2 and N2O losses in these three vegetable production systems. HT maintained consistently higher soil NO3–N; the average NO3–N content during the entire rotations in HT was twice as high as in the CONV and three times as high as in the LI system. Key N loss pathways varied between the systems; marked N2O and CO2 losses were observed in the LI and NO3 leaching was greatest in the CONV system. The 3-year cumulative CO2 emission in LI was 50% higher than in the CONV and HT systems. Cumulative N2O emission over the 3-year vegetable rotations from the LI was twice as high as in the CONV system, whereas 60% more N2O was produced from the HT than from the CONV system. Yield-scaled GWP was greater in the LI for all crops compared to HT and CONV systems.

Keywords

Sustainable intensification Organic agriculture CO2 N2Global warming potential Nitrate leaching 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (No. 2013-67019-21403). The authors thank Elmwood Stock Farm, the University of Kentucky Horticulture Research Farm staff, Dr. Alexandra Williams, Jennifer Taylor, Brett Wolff, Ann Freytag, and Riley Walton for laboratory and field assistance on this project, as well as the input from anonymous reviewers that greatly strengthened the manuscript.

References

  1. Allaire-Leung SE, Wu L, Mitchell JP, Sanden BL (2001) Nitrate leaching and soil nitrate content as affected by irrigation uniformity in a carrot field. Agric Water Manag 48:37–50.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-3774(00)00112-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Binkley D, Matson P (1983) Ion-exchange resin bag method for assessing forest soil-nitrogen availability. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47(5):1050–1052.  https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj1983.03615995004700050045x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Case SDC, McNamara NP, Reay DS, Whitaker J (2012) The effect of biochar addition on N2O and CO2 emissions from a sandy loam soil—the role of soil aeration. Soil Biol Biochem 51:125–134.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.03.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen H, Li X, Hu F, Shi W (2013) Soil nitrous oxide emissions following crop residue addition: a meta-analysis. Glob Change Biol 19:2956–2964.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12274 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen J, Kim H, Yoo G (2015) Effects of biochar addition on CO2 and N2O emissions following fertilizer application to a cultivated grassland soil. PLoS ONE 10:e0126841.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126841 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crutchfield JD, Grove JH (2011) A new cadmium reduction device for the microplate determination of nitrate in water, soil, plant tissue, and physiological fluids. J AOAC Int 94:1896–1905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cui Z, Yue S, Wang G, Zhang F, Chen X (2013) In-season root-zone N management for mitigating greenhouse gas emission and reactive N losses in intensive wheat production. Environ Sci Technol 47:6015–6022.  https://doi.org/10.1021/es4003026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Ponti T, Rijk B, van Ittersum MK (2012) The crop yield gap between organic and conventional agriculture. Agric Syst 108:1–9.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2011.12.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deng J, Zhou Z, Zheng X, Li C (2013) Modeling impacts of fertilization alternatives on nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emissions from conventional vegetable fields in southeastern China. Atmos Environ 81:642–650.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.09.046 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deng Q, Hui D, Wang J, Iwuozo S, Yu CL, Jima T, Smart D, Reddy C, Dennis S (2015) Corn yield and soil nitrous oxide emission under different fertilizer and soil management: a three-year field experiment in middle Tennessee. PLoS ONE 10:e0125406.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0125406 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eichner MJ (1990) Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilized soils: summary of available data. J Environ Qual 19:272–280.  https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq1990.00472425001900020013x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eriksen J, Jensen LS (2001) Soil respiration, nitrogen mineralization and uptake in barley following cultivation of grazed grasslands. Biol Fert Soils 33:139–145.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s003740000302 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Errebhi M, Rosen CJ, Gupta SC, Birong DE (1998) Potato yield response and nitrate leaching as influenced by nitrogen management. Agric J 90:10–15.  https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj1998.00021962009000010003x Google Scholar
  14. FAO (2011) The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture (SOLAW)—managing systems at risk. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome and Earthscan, London. http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i1688e/i1688e00.pdf. Accessed 23 April 2018
  15. FAOSTAT (2018) Crops data. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC/visualize. Accessed 12 April 2018
  16. Foley JA, Ramankutty N, Brauman KA, Cassidy ES, Gerber JS, Johnston M (2011) Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature 478:337–342.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10452 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garbach K, Milder JC, DeClerck FAJ, Montenegro de Wit M, Driscoll L, Gemmill-Herren B (2016) Examining multi-functionality for crop yield and ecosystem services in five systems of agroecological intensification. Int J Agric Sustain 15:11–28.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2016.1174810 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gliessman SR (2007) Agroecology: the ecology of sustainable food systems, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  19. Goulding K (2000) Nitrate leaching from arable and horticultural land. Soil Use Manage 16:145–151.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2000.tb00218.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grassini P, Cassman KG (2012) High-yield maize with large net energy yield and small global warming intensity. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109:1074–1079.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1116364109 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hanselman TA, Graetz DA, Obreza TA (2004) A comparison of in situ methods for measuring net nitrogen mineralization rates of organic soil amendments. J Environ Qual 33:1098–1105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. He ZL, Alva AK, Yan P, Li YC, Calvert DV, Stoffella PJ, Banks DJ (2000) Nitrogen mineralization and transformation from composts and biosolids during field incubation in a sandy soil. Soil Sci 165:161–169.  https://doi.org/10.1097/00010694-200002000-00007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001: the scientific basis. In: Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Dai X, Maskell K, Johnson CA (eds) Contributions of working Group I to the third assessment of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Cambridge, p 881Google Scholar
  24. Iqbal J, Nelson JA, McCulley RL (2013) Fungal endophyte presence and genotype affect plant diversity and soil-to-atmosphere trace gas fluxes. Plant Soil 364:15–27.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-012-1326-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jamali H, Quayle W, Scheer C, Baldock J (2016) Mitigation of N2O emissions from surface-irrigated cropping systems using water management and the nitrification inhibitor DMPP. Soil Res 54:481–493.  https://doi.org/10.1071/SR15315 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson DW, Verburg PSJ, Arnone JA (2005) Soil extraction, ion exchange resin, and ion exchange membrane measures of soil mineral nitrogen during incubation of a tallgrass prairie soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 9:260–265.  https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2005.0260 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ju XT, Kou CL, Christie P, Dou ZX, Zhang FS (2007) Changes in the soil environment from excessive application of fertilizers and manures to two contrasting intensive cropping systems on the North China Plain. Environ Pollut 145:497–506.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2006.04.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kolberg RL, Westfall DG, Peterson GA (1999) Influence of cropping intensity and nitrogen fertilizer rates on in situ nitrogen mineralization. Soil Sci Soc Am J 63(1):129–134.  https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj1999.03615995006300010019x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kramer SB, Reganold JP, Glover JD, Bohannan BLM, Mooney HA (2006) Reduced nitrate leaching and enhanced denitrifier activity and efficiency in organically fertilized soils. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:4522–4527.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0600359103 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kravchenko AN, Toosi ER, Guber AK, Ostrom NE, Yu J, Azeem K, Rivers ML, Robertson GP (2017) Hotspots of soil N2O emission enhanced through water absorption by plant residue. Nat Geosci 10:496–500.  https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2963 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lamont WJ (2009) Overview of the use of high tunnels worldwide. HortTechnology 19:25–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Matson PA, Parton WJ, Power AG, Swift MJ (1997) Agricultural intensification and ecosystem properties. Science 277:504–509.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.277.5325.504 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Monterroso VA, Wien HC (1990) Flower and pod abscission due to heat stress in beans. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 115:631–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mueller ND, Gerber JS, Johnston M, Ray DK, Ramankutty N, Foley JA (2012) Closing yield gaps through nutrient and water management. Nature 490:254.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11420 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. National Agriculture Statistics Service (2011) Agricultural chemical use: vegetable crops 2010. US Department of Agriculture. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys/Chemical_Use/VegetableChemicalUseFactSheet.pdf. Accessed 11 Sept 2017
  36. National Agriculture Statistics Service (2014) Census of horticultural specialties. US Department of Agriculture. https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Census_of_Horticulture_Specialties/HORTIC.pdf. Accessed 19 Oct 2017
  37. Nelson DW, Sommers LE (1982) Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter: In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Part 2 chemical and microbiological properties, pp 539–579Google Scholar
  38. Norris CE, Congreves KA (2018) Alternative management practices improve soil health indices in intensive vegetable cropping systems: a review. Front Environ Sci 6:1–18.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2018.00050 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parkin TB, Venterea RT (2010) Chapter 3: chamber-based trace gas flux measurements. In: Follett R (ed) USDA-ARS sampling protocols, pp 3–39. https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/np212/Chapter%203.%20GRACEnet%20Trace%20Gas%20Sampling%20Protocols.pdf
  40. Pinto M, Merino P, del Prado A, Estavillo JM, Yamulki S, Gebauer G (2004) Increased emissions of nitric oxide and nitrous oxide following tillage of a perennial pasture. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 70:13–22.  https://doi.org/10.1023/b:fres.0000049357.79307.23 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ponisio LC, M’Gonigle LK, Mace KC, Palomino J, de Valpine P, Kremen C (2015) Diversification practices reduce organic to conventional yield gap. Proc R Soc B 282:1–7.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1396 Google Scholar
  42. Powell M, Gundersen B, Cowan J, Miles CA, Inglis DA (2014) The effect of open-ended high tunnels in western Washington on late blight and physiological leaf roll among five tomato cultivars. Plant Disease 98:1639–1647.  https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-12-13-1261-RE CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pradhan P, Fischer G, van Velthuizen H, Reusser DE, Kropp JP (2015) Closing yield gaps: how sustainable can we be? PLoS ONE 10:e0129487.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pretty JN (2008) Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence. Philos Trans R Soc B 363:447–465.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2007.2163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pretty JN (1997) The sustainable intensification of agriculture. Nat Resour Forum 21:247–256.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-8947.1997.tb00699.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Raich JW, Schlesinger WH (1992) The global carbon dioxide flux in soil respiration and its relationship to vegetation and climate. Tellus B 44:81–99.  https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0889.1992.t01-1-00001.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rhoades JD (1996) Salinity: Electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids. In: Sparks DL, Page AL, Helmke PA, Loeppert RH, Soltanpour PN, Tabatabai MA, Johnston CT, Sumner ME (eds) Methods of soil analysis Part 3. Soil Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 417–435Google Scholar
  48. Rice CW, Smith MS (1984) Short-term immobilization of fertilizer nitrogen at the surface of no-till and plowed soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 48:295–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sanchez-Martin L, Meijide A, Garcia-Torres L, Vallejo A (2010) Combination of drip irrigation and organic fertilizer for mitigating emissions of nitrogen oxides in semiarid climate. Agric Ecosyst Environ 137:99–107.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2010.01.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schellenberg DL, Alsina MM, Muhammad S, Stockert CM, Wolff MW, Sanden BL (2012) Yield-scaled global warming potential from N2O emissions and CH4 oxidation for almond (Prunus dulcis) irrigated with nitrogen fertilizers on arid land. Agric Ecosyst Environ 155:7–15.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2012.03.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schramski JR, Jacobsen KL, Smith TW, Williams MA, Thompson TM (2013) Energy as a potential systems-level indicator of sustainability in organic agriculture: case study model of a diversified, organic vegetable production system. Ecol Modell 267:102–114.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.07.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seufert VN, Ramankutty N, Foley JA (2012) Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture. Nature 485:229–232.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11069 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shrestha D, Srivastava A, Shakya SM, Khadka J, Acharya BS (2013) Use of compost supplemented human urine in sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) production. Sci Hortic 153:8–12.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2013.01.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stefanelli D, Goodwin I, Jones R (2010) Minimal nitrogen and water use in horticulture: effects on quality and content of selected nutrients. Food Res Int 43:1833–1843.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2010.04.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Susfalk RB, Johnson DW (2002) Ion exchange resin based soil solution lysimeters and snowmelt solution collectors. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 33:1261–1275.  https://doi.org/10.1081/CSS-120003886 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thomas SM, Beare MH, Francis GS, Barlow HE, Hedderley DI (2008) Effects of tillage, simulated cattle grazing and soil moisture on N2O emissions from a winter forage crop. Plant Soil 309:131–145.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-008-9586-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thompson RB, Martínez-Gaitan C, Gallardo M, Giménez C, Fernández MD (2007) Identification of irrigation and N management practices that contribute to nitrate leaching loss from an intensive vegetable production system by use of a comprehensive survey. Agric Water Manag 89:261–274.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2007.01.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tilman D, Balzer C, Hill J, Befort BL (2011) Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108:20260–20264.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1116437108 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. UK Cooperative Extension Service (2014) ID-36 vegetable production guide for commercial growers. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Cooperative Extension Service. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id36/id36.pdf. Accessed 14 Sept 2017
  60. van Genuchten MTh (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 36:380–383Google Scholar
  61. van Genuchten M, Leij FJ, Yates SR (1991) The RETC code for quantifying the hydraulic functions of unsaturated soils, Version 1.0. EPA Report 600/2-91/065. https://www.pc-progress.com/Documents/programs/retc.pdf. Accessed 12 Sept 2017
  62. Venterea RT, Maharjan B, Dolan MS (2011) Fertilizer source and tillage effects on yield-scaled nitrous oxide emissions in a corn cropping system. J Environ Qual 40:1521–1531.  https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2011.0039 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wezel A, Soboksa G, McClelland S, Delespesse F, Boissau A (2015) The blurred boundaries of ecological, sustainable, and agroecological intensification: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 35:1283–1295.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-015-0333-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Xu X, Ran Y, Li Y, Zhang Q, Liu Y, Pan H, Guan X, Li J, Shi J, Dong L, Li Z, Di H, Xu J (2016) Warmer and drier conditions alter the nitrifier and denitrifier communities and reduce N2O emissions in fertilized vegetable soils. Agric Ecosyst Environ 231:133–142.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.06.026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zhu JH, Li XL, Christie P, Li JL (2005) Environmental implications of low nitrogen use efficiency in excessively fertilized hot pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.) cropping systems. Agric Ecosyst Environ 111:70–80.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2005.04.025 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zikeli S, Deil L, Moller K (2017) The challenge of imbalanced nutrient flows in organic farming systems: a study of organic greenhouses in southern Germany. Agric Ecosyst Environ 244:1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.04.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HorticultureUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations