Nitrous oxide emissions from an irrigated soil as affected by fertilizer and straw management

  • X. HaoEmail author
  • C. Chang
  • J.M. Carefoot
  • H.H. Janzen
  • B.H. Ellert


Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from farmland is a concern for both environmental quality and agricultural productivity. Field experiments were conducted in 1996–1997 to assess soil N2O emissions as affected by timing of N fertilizer application and straw/tillage practices for crop production under irrigation in southern Alberta. The crops were soft wheat (Triticum aestivumL.) in 1996 and canola (Brassica napusL.) in 1997. Nitrous oxide flux from soil was measured using a vented chamber technique and calculated from the increase in concentration with time. Nitrous oxide fluxes for all treatments varied greatly during the year, with the greatest fluxes occurring in association with freeze-thaw events during March and April. Emissions were greater when N fertilizer (100 kg N ha−1) was applied in the fall compared to spring application. Straw removal at harvest in the fall increased N2O emissions when N fertilizer was applied in the fall, but decreased emissions when no fertilizer was applied. Fall plowing also increased N2O emissions compared to spring plowing or direct seeding. The study showed that N2O emissions may be minimized by applying N fertilizer in spring, retaining straw, and incorporating it in spring. The estimates of regional N2O emissions based on a fixed proportion of applied N may be tenuous since N2O emission varied widely depending on straw and fertilizer management practices.

greenhouse gas N2O flux straw and fertilizer management tillage 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Hao
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Chang
    • 2
  • J.M. Carefoot
    • 2
  • H.H. Janzen
    • 2
  • B.H. Ellert
    • 2
  1. 1.Lethbridge Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Lethbridge Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridgeCanada

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