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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 5, p. 1105-1111
    Received: Oct 16, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): jdelgado@lamar.colostate.edu
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Mitigation Alternatives to Decrease Nitrous Oxides Emissions and Urea-Nitrogen Loss and Their Effect on Methane Flux

  1. J. A. Delgado * and
  2. A. R. Mosier
  1. USDA/ARS, P.O. Box E, Ft. Collins, CO 80522.



Nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) are greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming potential. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is one of the most important sources of anthropogenic N2O emissions. A field study was conducted to compare N-use efficiency and effect on N2O and CH4 flux, of urea, urea plus the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (U + DCD), and a control release fertilizer, polyolefin coated urea (POCU) in irrigated spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in northeastern Colorado. Each treatment received 90 kg urea-N ha−1 and microplots labeled with 15N-fertilizer were established. Average N2O emissions were 4.5, 5.2, 6.9, and 8.2 g N ha−1 d−1 for control, U + DCD, POCU, and urea, respectively. During the initial 21 d after fertilization, N2O emissions were reduced by 82 and 71% in the U + DCD and POCU treatments, respectively, but continued release of N fertilizer from POCU maintained higher N2O emissions through the remainder of the growing season. No treatment effect on CH4 oxidation in soils was observed. Fertilizer 15N found 50 to 110 cm below the soil surface was lower in the POCU and U + DCD treatments. At harvest, recovery of 15N-fertilizer in the plant-soil system was 98, 90, and 85% from POCU, urea, and U + DCD, respectively. Grain yield was 2.2, 2.5, and 2.7 Mg ha−1 for POCU, urea, and U + DCD, respectively. Dicyandiamide and POCU showed the potential to be used as mitigation alternatives to decrease N2O emissions from N fertilizer and movement of N out of the root zone, but N release from POCU does need to be formulated to better match crop growth demands.

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