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Eighteen studies showing a reduction of nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture by 30% or more

In a previous blog post on nitrous oxide, I have made the point that it is feasible to reduce production of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide form agricultural sources by one third.   In this post I list eighteen studies in which nitrous oxide emissions have been reduced by 30% or more:  These studies illustrate the feasibility of reducing nitrous oxide by one-third.  It should be noted that the findings, when looked at carefully, suggest that approaches taken may need to be adapted to the particular local soil, crop and environmental conditions.

The studies showing reduction of nitrous oxide by more than 30% are listed below:

1) Using a nitrification inhibitor or polymer coated urea can reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 35-38% compared to conventional fertilizer (reference 1).
2) Using fertilizer placed at a depth of more than 5 cm, compared to a depth of less than 5 cm, combined with reduced tillage resulted in reductions of nitrous oxide of greater than 30%.  This involved a meta-analysis of 239 comparisons.   The impact of no till and reduced tillage alone to reduce nitrous oxide was most effective when carried out for more than 10 years (reference 2).
3) Using urea with a urease inhibitor and a nitrification inhibitor compared to no inhibitor reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 37% (reference 3).
4) Using urea compared to anhydrous ammonia reduced nitrous oxide production by 50% in corn fields (reference 4).
5) Using polymer coated urea decreased nitrous oxide production and poultry litter increased nitrous oxide emissions compared to other sources of nitrogen with differences from 46 to 81% in the comparisons. (reference 5).
6) Using liquid swine or dairy manure compared to solid poultry manure resulted in a 41% decrease in nitrous oxide emissions (reference 1).
7) Urea ammonium nitrate together with a nitrification inhibitor resulted in a 19 to 67% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions (reference 6).
8) Urea applied with a urease inhibitor and a nitrification inhibitor resulted in a 46% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions compared to the application of urea without any inhibitor (reference 7).
9) Polymer Coated Urea resulted in a 42% reduction of nitrous oxide emissions compared to regular urea (reference 1).
10) Urea ammonium nitrate with urease inhibitor and nitrification inhibitor resulted in a 61% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions compared to urea with no inhibitor (reference 1).
11) Urea ammonium nitrate with urease inhibitor and nitrification inhibitor resulted in a 41% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions compared to urea ammonium nitrate alone (reference 1).
12) Urea ammonium nitrate resulted in a 35% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions compared to urea. (reference 1).
13) Urea ammonium nitrate with soluble methylene ureas and urea trizones resulted in a 57% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions compared to the use of urea (reference 1).
14) Changes in source, time and place of application compared to standard practice have been associated with a 20 to 80 percent reduction in nitrous oxide emissions (reference 8).
15) Calcium ammonium nitrate reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 54% compared to manure (poultry, or liquid swine or liquid dairy)  (reference 1).
16) Fertilizers with urease inhibitors and nitrification inhibitors reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 38% compared to fertilizers with no inhibitors (reference 9).
17) Commercial fertilizer reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 40% compared to manure (reference 1).
18) Urea with nitrification inhibitors reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 81-100 percent compared to urea with no inhibitor (reference 10).

The references for these studies are shown below:

1. Snyder CS, Davidson EA, Smith P and Venterea RT: Agriculture: sustainable crop and animal production to help mitigate nitrous oxide emissions. In. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.  Vol 9-10: pages 46-54, 2014.
2. Van Kessel, C, Verterea R, Six J et al.  Climate, duration, and N placement determine N20 emissions in reduced tillage systems: a meta-analysis.  Glob Change Biol 19:33-44, 2013.
3. Zaman M, Nguyen ML, Blennerhassett JD et al: Reducing NH3, N20 and N03 - N losses from a pasture soil with urease or nitrification inhibitors and elemental S - amended nitrogenous fertilizers.  Biol Fertil Soils 44:693-705, 2007.
4) Venterea RT, Dolan MS, Ochsner TE: Urea decreases nitrous oxide emissions compared with anhydrous ammonia in a Minnesota corn cropping system.   Soil Sci Soc Am J 74:407-418, 2010
5. Sistani KR, Jn-Baptiste M, Lovanh N et al.  Atmospheric emissions of nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide from different nitrogen fertilizers.   J Environ Qual 40:1797-1800, 2011.
6. Omonode RA, Wyn TJ; Nitrification kinetics and nitrous oxide emissions when nitrapyrin is coapplied with urea ammonium nitrate. Agron J 105:1475-1480, 2013.
7. Halvorson AD, Snyder CS, Blaylock AD et al: Enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers: potential role in nitrous oxide emissions mitigation.  Agron J 106:715-722, 2014.
8. Snyder CS, Fixen PE: Plant nutrient management and risks of nitrous oxide emissions.   J Soil Water Conserv 67:127A-144A, 2012.
9. Decock C: Mitigating nitrous oxide emissions from corn cropping systems in the midwestern US: potential and data gaps.  Environ Sci Technol 48:4247-4250, 2014.
10. Soares J, Cantarella H, Vargas V et al: Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers in N20 emissions from urea applied to sugarcane.   J Environ Qual  10.2134/jeq2014.02.0096, 2014.


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