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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 2, p. 446-452

    * Corresponding author(s): david.archer@ars.usda.gov
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Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Economics for Irrigated Cropping Systems in Northeastern Colorado

  1. David W. Archer *a and
  2. Ardell D. Halvorsonb
  1. a USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Research Lab., PO Box 459, 1701 10th Ave. SW, Mandan, ND 58554
    b USDA-ARS, 2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. D, Ste. 100, Fort Collins, CO 80526


Recent soil and crop management technologies have potential for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; however, these management strategies must be profitable if they are to be adopted by producers. The economic feasibility of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions in irrigated cropping systems was evaluated for 5 yr on a Fort Collins clay loam soil (a fine-loamy, mixed, superactive, mesic Aridic Haplustalf). Cropping systems included conventional tillage continuous corn (Zea mays L.) (CT-CC), no-till continuous corn (NT-CC), and no-till corn–bean (NT-CB) including 1 yr soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and 1 yr dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). The study included six N fertilization rates ranging from 0 to 246 kg ha−1 Results showed highest average net returns for NT-CB, exceeding net returns for NT-CC and CT-CC by US$182 and US$228 ha−1, respectively, at economically optimum N fertilizer rates. Net global warming potential (GWP) generally increased with increasing N fertilizer rate with the exception of NT-CC, where net GWP initially declined and then increased at higher N rates. Combining economic and net GWP measurements showed that producers have an economic incentive to switch from CT-CC to NT-CB, increasing annual average net returns by US$228 ha−1 while reducing annual net GWP by 929 kg CO2 equivalents ha−1 The greatest GWP reductions (1463 kg CO2 equivalents ha−1) could be achieved by switching from CT-CC to NT-CC while also increasing net returns, but the presence of a more profitable NT-CB alternative means NT-CC is unlikely to be chosen without additional economic incentives.

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