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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 5, p. 1623-1634
    Received: Dec 3, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): jpk12@psu.edu
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Soil Greenhouse Gas and Ammonia Emissions in Long-Term Maize-Based Cropping Systems

  1. M. A. A. Adviento-Borbea,
  2. J. P. Kaye *b,
  3. M. A. Brunsb,
  4. M. D. McDanielb,
  5. M. McCoyb and
  6. S. Harkcomb
  1. a 230 ABE Building, Dep. of Agricultural and Biological Eng., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802
    b 116 ASI Building, Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802


Legume rotations and animal manures can reduce synthetic fertilizer use in row crops, but only long-term experiments can elucidate effects of multiple legume rotations and decades of manure additions on soil gas emissions. In 2006 and 2007, we measured soil-atmosphere fluxes of N2O, NH3, and CO2 in maize (Zea mays L.) crops within a replicated experiment comparing continuous maize to maize–alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) rotations initiated in 1969. In both systems, comparisons of synthetic fertilizer N and manure N were initiated in 1990. With synthetic fertilizer as the main N source, mean CO2–C fluxes (from March 31st to October18th) were lower from continuous maize (CC, 512 ± 132 g m−2 growing season−1) than from maize following alfalfa (CA, 691 ± 91 g m−2 growing season−1). In contrast, with manure as the main N source, mean soil CO2–C fluxes from CC (943 ± 111 g m−2 growing season−1) were greater than from CA (682 ± 21g m−2 growing season−1). Soil CO2–C emissions correlated with long-term inputs of manure. Synthetically fertilized continuous maize had lower N2O-N fluxes (0.36 ± 0.26 g m−2 growing season−1) than other treatments (0.55–0.58 g m−2 growing season−1). Nitrous oxide-N fluxes were not correlated with current N inputs or soil nitrate concentrations, suggesting that long-term treatment effects (e.g., on soil structure, labile C, or microbial communities) contribute to contemporary N2O variation. Elevated NH3 fluxes (>5 mg NH3–N m−2 h−1) followed manure applications, but within weeks there were no significant treatment differences in NH3 fluxes. These results suggest that short-term or single-factor studies may not capture important interactions among crop rotations and N sources affecting greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soils.

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