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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Gases

Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions Affected by Irrigation, Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Nitrogen Fertilization


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 6, p. 1774-1786
    Received: Apr 28, 2012
    Published: October 4, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): Upendra.sainju@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Upendra M. Sainju *a,
  2. William B. Stevensa,
  3. Thecan Caesar-TonThata and
  4. Mark A. Liebigb
  1. a USDA–ARS, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab., 1500 North Central Ave., Sidney, MT 59270
    b USDA–ARS, Northern Great Plains Research Lab., P.O. Box 459, Mandan, ND 58554


Management practices, such as irrigation, tillage, cropping system, and N fertilization, may influence soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We quantified the effects of irrigation, tillage, crop rotation, and N fertilization on soil CO2, N2O, and CH4 emissions from March to November, 2008 to 2011 in a Lihen sandy loam in western North Dakota. Treatments were two irrigation practices (irrigated and nonirrigated) and five cropping systems (conventional-tilled malt barley [Hordeum vulgaris L.] with N fertilizer [CT-N], conventional-tilled malt barley with no N fertilizer [CT-C], no-tilled malt barley–pea [Pisum sativum L.] with N fertilizer [NT-PN], no-tilled malt barley with N fertilizer [NT-N], and no-tilled malt barley with no N fertilizer [NT-C]). The GHG fluxes varied with date of sampling and peaked immediately after precipitation, irrigation, and/or N fertilization events during increased soil temperature. Both CO2 and N2O fluxes were greater in CT-N under the irrigated condition, but CH4 uptake was greater in NT-PN under the nonirrigated condition than in other treatments. Although tillage and N fertilization increased CO2 and N2O fluxes by 8 to 30%, N fertilization and monocropping reduced CH4 uptake by 39 to 40%. The NT-PN, regardless of irrigation, might mitigate GHG emissions by reducing CO2 and N2O emissions and increasing CH4 uptake relative to other treatments. To account for global warming potential for such a practice, information on productions associated with CO2 emissions along with N2O and CH4 fluxes is needed.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.