Advertisement

Soil N2O emissions in Mediterranean arable crops as affected by reduced tillage and N rate

  • Iride VolpiEmail author
  • Giorgio Ragaglini
  • Nicoletta Nassi o Di Nasso
  • Enrico Bonari
  • Simona Bosco
Original Article
  • 13 Downloads

Abstract

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted from agricultural soils as a product of biotic pathways of the nitrogen (N) cycle. Agricultural practices may affect soil water content, temperature and N availability, and consequently N2O emissions. Thus, it is necessary to identify strategies to mitigate N2O emissions while maintaining crop yields. This two-year study on durum wheat and sunflower in a Mediterranean environment evaluated the influence of tillage intensity (plowing vs. minimum tillage) and N fertilizer rate (N0, N1 and N2: 0, 110 and 170 kg N ha−1, respectively, for wheat, and 0, 80 and 140 kg N ha−1, respectively, for sunflower) on crop yields and N2O emissions. Reducing the N fertilizer rate by ca. 40% resulted in an average mitigation of ca. 35% of cumulative N2O emissions during the growing season of both crops. From N1 to N2, the grain yield of sunflower did not increase, but that of wheat did so by ca. 25%. Indeed, yield-scaled N2O emissions of N0, were the highest in wheat (259 ± 45 g N2O–N Mg−1 dry grain, 12.2 ± 2.0 g N2O–N kg−1 N uptake) and the lowest in sunflower (62 ± 7 g N2O–N Mg−1 dry grain, 2.0 ± 0.2 g N2O–N kg−1 N uptake). Reducing tillage intensity decreased cumulative N2O emissions significantly only for sunflower during the second year (by 35%), but not for any other treatment. The effect of the reduced tillage depth on grain yield varied between the 2 years, being negative only under wetter growing seasons (− 12% in wheat and − 9% in sunflower).

Keywords

Minimum tillage Durum wheat Sunflower Nitrous oxide Yield-scaled emissions Rainfall 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was conducted with support from the LIFE financial instrument of the EU within the framework of the IPNOA (“Improved flux Prototypes for N2O emission reduction from Agriculture”) project (LIFE11 ENV/IT/000302, www.ipnoa.eu). The authors would like to thank Luigi Fabbrini, Marco Quattrucci, Cristiano Tozzini, Fabio Taccini and the entire staff at “Terre Regionali Toscane, Center for Innovation Testing” for preparing and maintaining the field experiment and for their valuable support. We also thank all those at the Institute of Life Sciences of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna who participated in the field experiment.

Supplementary material

10705_2019_10032_MOESM1_ESM.docx (160 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 160 kb)

References

  1. Alvarez R, Steinbach HS (2009) A review of the effects of tillage systems on some soil physical properties, water content, nitrate availability and crops yield in the Argentine Pampas. Soil Tillage Res 104:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arévalo-Martínez DL, Beyer M, Krumbholz M, Piller I, Kock A, Steinhoff T, Körtzinger A, Bange HW (2013) A new method for continuous measurements of oceanic and atmospheric N2O, CO and CO2: performance of off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) coupled to non-dispersive infrared detection (NDIR). Ocean Sci 9:1071–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badagliacca G, Benítez E, Amato G, Badalucco L, Giambalvo D, Laudicina VA, Ruisi P (2018) Long-term no-tillage application increases soil organic carbon, nitrous oxide emissions and faba bean (Vicia faba L.) yields under rain-fed Mediterranean conditions. Sci Total Environ 639:350–359CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Baggs EM, Rees RM, Smith KA (2000) Nitrous oxide emission from soils after incorporating crop residues. Soil Use Manag 16:82–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ball BC (2013) Soil structure and greenhouse gas emissions: a synthesis of 20 years of experimentation. Eur J Soil Sci 64:357–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barton L, Wolf B, Rowlings D, Scheer C, Kiese R, Grace P, Stefanova K, Butterbach-Bahl K (2015) Sampling frequency affects estimates of annual nitrous oxide fluxes. Sci Rep-UK 5:15912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bateman EJ, Baggs EM (2005) Contributions of nitrification and denitrification to N2O emissions from soils at different water-filled pore space. Biol Fertil Soils 41:379–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bates D, Maechler M, Bolker B, Walker S, Christensen RHB, Singmann H, Dai B (2014) Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version 1.1-7. Available from: http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4
  9. Bosco S, Volpi I, Nassi o Di Nasso N, Triana F, Roncucci N, Tozzini C, Villani R, Laville P, Neri S, Mattei F, Virgili G, Nuvoli S, Fabbrini L, Bonari E (2015) LIFE + IPNOA mobile prototype for the monitoring of soil N2O emissions from arable crops: first-year results on durum wheat. Ital J Agron 10:669Google Scholar
  10. Bouwman AF, Boumans LJM, Batjes NH (2002) Emissions of N2O and NO from fertilized fields: summary of available measurement data. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 16:1058Google Scholar
  11. Brümmer C, Lyshede B, Lempio D, Delorme J, Rüffer JJ, Fuß R, Moffat AM, Hurkuck M, Ibrom A, Ambus P, Flessa H, Werner LK (2017) Gas chromatography vs. quantum cascade laser-based N2O flux measurements using a novel chamber design. Biogeosciences 14(6):1365–1381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Butterbach-Bahl K, Baggs EM, Dannenmann M, Kiese R, Zechmeister-boltenstern S (2013) Nitrous oxide emissions from soils: how well do we understand the processes and their controls? Philos Trans R Soc B 368:20130122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cayuela ML, Aguilera E, Sanz-Cobena A, Adams DC, Abalos D, Barton L, Ryals R, Silver WL, Alfaro MA, Pappa VA, Smith P, Garnier J, Billen G, Bouwman L, Bondeau A, Lassaletta L (2017) Direct nitrous oxide emissions in Mediterranean climate cropping systems: emission factors based on a meta-analysis of available measurement data. Agric Ecosyst Environ 238:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen H, Li X, Hu F, Shi W (2013) Soil nitrous oxide emissions following crop residue addition: a meta-analysis. Glob Change Biol 19:2956–2964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen C, Chen D, Pan J, Lam SK (2014) Analysis of factors controlling soil N2O emission by principal component and path analysis method. Environ Earth Sci 72:1511–1517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Conrad R (1996) Soil microorganisms as controllers of atmospheric trace gases (H2, CO, CH4, OCS, N2O, and NO). Microbiol Rev 60:609–640PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Cowan NJ, Famulari D, Levy PE, Anderson M, Bell MJ, Rees RM, Reay DS, Skiba UM (2014) An improved method for measuring soil N2O fluxes using a quantum cascade laser with a dynamic chamber. Eur J Soil Sci 65:643–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cowan N, Levy P, Drewer J, Carswell A, Shaw R, Simmons I, Bache C, Marinheiro J, Brichet J, Sanchez-Rodriguez AR, Cotton J, Hill PW, Chadwick DR, Jones DL, Misselbrook TH, Skiba U (2019) Application of Bayesian statistics to estimate nitrous oxide emission factors of three nitrogen fertilisers on UK grasslands. Environ Int 128:362–370CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. De Vita P, Di Paolo E, Fecondo G, Di Fonzo N, Pisante M (2007) No-tillage and conventional tillage effects on durum wheat yield, grain quality and soil moisture content in southern Italy. Soil Tillage Res 92:69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dobbie KE, Smith KA (2003) Nitrous oxide emission factors for agricultural soils in Great Britain: the impact of soil water-filled pore space and other controlling variables. Glob Change Biol 9:204–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. European Environment Agency (2015) Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2013 and inventory report 2015Google Scholar
  22. Flechard CR, Ambus P, Skiba U, Rees RM, Hensen A, van Amstel A, Dasselaar AP, Soussana JF, Jones M, Clifton-Brown J, Raschi A, Horvath L, Neftel A, Jocher M, Ammann C, Leifeld J, Fuhrer J, Calanca P, Thalman E, Pilegaard K, Di Marco C, Campbell C, Nemitz E, Hargreaves KJ, Levy PE, Ball BC, Jones SK, van de Bulk WCM, Groot T, Blom M, Domingues R, Kasper G, Allard V, Ceschia E, Cellier P, Laville P, Hénault C, Bizouard F, Abdalla M, Williams M, Baronti S, Berretti F, Grosz B (2007) Effects of climate and management intensity on nitrous oxide emissions in grassland systems across Europe. Agric Ecosyst Environ 121:135–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freibauer A, Kaltschmitt M (2003) Controls and models for estimating direct nitrous oxide emissions from temperate and sub-boreal agricultural mineral soils in Europe. Biogeochemistry 63:93–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. García-Marco S, Ravella SR, Chadwick D, Vallejo A, Gregory AS, Cárdenas LM (2014) Ranking factors affecting emissions of GHG from incubated agricultural soils. Eur J Soil Sci 65:573–583CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Gelfand I, Shcherbak I, Millar N, Kravchenko AN, Robertson GP (2016) Long-term nitrous oxide fluxes in annual and perennial agricultural and unmanaged ecosystems in the upper Midwest USA. Glob Change Biol 22:3594–3607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goldman E, Jacobs R (1961) Determination of nitrates by ultraviolet absorption. J Am Water Works Assoc 53:187–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Guardia G, Tellez-Rio A, García-Marco S, Martin-Lammerding D, Tenorio JL, Ibáñez MÁ, Vallejo A (2016) Effect of tillage and crop (cereal versus legume) on greenhouse gas emissions and global warming potential in a non-irrigated Mediterranean field. Agric Ecosyst Environ 221:187–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Halvorson AD, Black AL, Krupinsky JM, Merrill SD, Tanaka DL (1999) Sunflower response to tillage and nitrogen fertilization under intensive cropping in a wheat rotation. Agron J 91:637–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hénault C, Bizouard F, Laville P, Gabrielle B, Nicoullaud B, Germon JC, Cellier P (2005) Predicting in situ soil N2O emission using NOE algorithm and soil database. Glob Change Biol 11:115–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holland JM (2004) The environmental consequences of adopting conservation tillage in Europe: reviewing the evidence. Agric Ecosyst Environ 103:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hu HW, Chen D, He JZ (2015) Microbial regulation of terrestrial nitrous oxide formation: understanding the biological pathways for prediction of emission rates. FEMS Microbiol Rev 39:729–749CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. ISPRA – Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (2016) Italian Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2014. National Inventory Report 2016Google Scholar
  33. Kim DG, Vargas R, Bond-Lamberty B, Turetsky MR (2012) Effects of soil rewetting and thawing on soil gas fluxes: a review of current literature and suggestions for future research. Biogeosciences 9:2459–2483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kim DG, Hernandez-Ramirez G, Giltrap D (2013) Linear and nonlinear dependency of direct nitrous oxide emissions on fertilizer nitrogen input: a meta-analysis. Agric Ecosyst Environ 168:53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Komsta (2015) Package outliers, a collection of some tests commonly used for identifying outliers. R package version 0.14. Available from: https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=outliers
  36. Laville P, Lehuger S, Loubet B, Chaumartin F, Cellier P (2011) Effect of management, climate and soil conditions on N2O and NO emissions from an arable crop rotation using high temporal resolution measurements. Agric Forest Meteorol 151:228–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Laville P, Neri S, Continanza D, Vero LF, Bosco S, Virgili G (2015) Cross-validation of a mobile N2O flux prototype (IPNOA) using micrometeorological and Chamber methods. J Energy Power Eng 9:375–380Google Scholar
  38. Laville P, Bosco S, Volpi I, Virgili G, Neri S, Continanza D, Bonari E (2017) Temporal integration of soil N2O fluxes: validation of IPNOA station automatic chamber prototype. Environ Monit Assess 189:485CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. Lebender U, Senbayram M, Lammel J, Kuhlmann H (2014) Impact of mineral N fertilizer application rates on N2O emissions from arable soils under winter wheat. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 100:111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Leitner S, Homyak PM, Blankinship JC, Eberwein J, Jenerette GD, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S, Schimel JP (2017) Linking NO and N2O emission pulses with the mobilization of mineral and organic N upon rewetting dry soils. Soil Biol Biochem 115:461–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levy PE, Cowan N, van Oijen M, Famulari D, Drewer J, Skiba U (2017) Estimation of cumulative fluxes of nitrous oxide: uncertainty in temporal upscaling and emission factors. Eur J Soil Sci 68:400–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Li C, Frolking S, Frolking TA (1992) A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events: 1. Model structure and sensitivity. J Geophys Res 97:9759–9776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Li X, Sørensen P, Olesen JE, Petersen SO (2016) Evidence for denitrification as main source of N2O emission from residue-amended soil. Soil Biol Biochem 92:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Linquist B, Van Groenigen KJ, Adviento-Borbe MA, Pittelkow C, Van Kessel C (2012) An agronomic assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from major cereal crops. Glob Change Biol 18:194–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. López-Bellido L, Fuentes M, Castillo JE, López-Garrido FJ (1998) Effects of tillage, crop rotation and nitrogen fertilization on wheat-grain quality grown under rainfed Mediterranean conditions. Field Crop Res 57:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Maiorana M, Charfeddine M, Montemurro F, Vonella AV (2005) Reduction of agronomic inputs in sunflower (Helianthus Annuus L.). Helia 28:133–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maraseni TN, Cockfield G (2011) Does the adoption of zero tillage reduce greenhouse gas emissions? An assessment for the grains industry in Australia. Agric Syst 6:451–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Massignam AM, Chapman SC, Hammer GL, Fukai S (2009) Physiological determinants of maize and sunflower grain yield as affected by nitrogen supply. Field Crop Res 113:256–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mazzoncini M, Di Bene C, Coli A, Antichi D, Petri M, Bonari E (2008) Rainfed wheat and soybean productivity in a long-term tillage experiment in central Italy. Agron J 100:1418–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Morell FJ, Lampurlanés J, Álvaro-Fuentes J, Cantero-Martínez C (2011) Yield and water use efficiency of barley in a semiarid Mediterranean agroecosystem: long-term effects of tillage and N fertilization. Soil Tillage Res 117:76–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Murillo JM, Moreno F, Pelegrín F, Fernández JE (1998) Responses of sunflower to traditional and conservation tillage under rainfed conditions in southern Spain. Soil Tillage Res 49:233–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mutegi JK, Munkholm LJ, Petersen BM, Hansen EM, Petersen SO (2010) Nitrous oxide emissions and controls as influenced by tillage and crop residue management strategy. Soil Biol Biochem 42:1701–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nan W, Yue S, Li S, Huang H, Shen Y (2016) Characteristics of N2O production and transport within soil profiles subjected to different nitrogen application rates in China. Sci Total Environ 542:864–875CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Pittelkow CM, Linquist BA, Lundy ME, Liang X, Van Groenigen KJ, Lee J, Van Gestel N, Six J, Venterea RT, Van Kessel C (2015) When does no-till yield more? A global meta-analysis. Field Crop Res 183:156–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Plaza-Bonilla D, Álvaro-Fuentes J, Arrúe JL, Cantero-Martínez C (2014) Tillage and nitrogen fertilization effects on nitrous oxide yield-scaled emissions in a rainfed Mediterranean area. Agric Ecosyst Environ 189:43–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. R Core Team (2017) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/
  57. Ragaglini G, Triana F, Villani R, Bonari E (2011) Can sunflower provide biofuel for inland demand? An integrated assessment of sustainability at regional scale. Energy 36:2111–2118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rochette P (2008) No-till only increases N2O emissions in poorly-aerated soils. Soil Tillage Res 101:97–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schwenke GD, Haigh BM (2016) The interaction of seasonal rainfall and nitrogen fertiliser rate on soil N2O emission, total N loss and crop yield of dryland sorghum and sunflower grown on sub-tropical Vertosols. Soil Res 54:604–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Seddaiu G, Iocola I, Farina R, Orsini R, Iezzi G, Roggero PP (2016) Long term effects of tillage practices and N fertilization in rainfed Mediterranean cropping systems: durum wheat, sunflower and maize grain yield. Eur J Agron 77:166–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sehy U, Ruser R, Munch JC (2003) Nitrous oxide fluxes from maize fields: relationship to yield, site-specific fertilization, and soil conditions. Agric Ecosyst Environ 99:97–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shcherbak I, Millar N, Robertson GP (2014) Global metanalysis of the nonlinear response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to fertilizer nitrogen. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:9199–9204CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  63. Signor D, Cerri CEP (2013) Nitrous oxide emissions in agricultural soils: a review. Pesqui Agropecu Trop 43:322–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Six J, Ogle SM, Breidt FJ, Conant RT, Mosiers AR, Paustian K (2004) The potential to mitigate global warming with no-tillage management is only realized when practised in the long term. Glob Change Biol 10:155–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Skiba U, Rees RM (2014) Nitrous oxide, climate change and agriculture. CAB Rev 9:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Smith P, Martino D, Cai Z, Gwary D, Janzen H, Kumar P, McCarl B, Ogle S, O’Mara F, Rice C, Scholes B, Sirotenko O, Howden M, McAllister T, Pan G, Romanenkov V, Schneider U, Towprayoon S, Wattenbach M, Smith J (2008) Greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 363:789–813CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  67. Soil Survey Staff (2014) Keys to soil taxonomy, 12th edn. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  68. Tenuta M, Beauchamp EG (2003) Nitrous oxide production from granular nitrogen fertilizers applied to a silt loam soil. Can J Soil Sci 83:521–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tremblay A, Ransijn J (2015) LMERConvenienceFunctions: model selection and post hoc analysis for (G)LMER models. R package version 2.1. Available from: https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=LMERConvenienceFunctions
  70. Van Groenigen JW, Velthof GL, Oenema O, Van Groenigen KJ, Van Kessel C (2010) Towards an agronomic assessment of N2O emissions: a case study for arable crops. Eur J Soil Sci 61:903–913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Van Kessel C, Venterea R, Six J, Adviento-Borbe MA, Linquist B, van Groenigen KJ (2013) Climate, duration, and N placement determine N2O emissions in reduced tillage systems: a meta-analysis. Glob Change Biol 19:33–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Venterea RT, Bijesh M, Dolan MS (2011) Fertilizer source and tillage effects on yield-scaled nitrous oxide emissions in a corn cropping system. J Environ Qual 40:1521–1531CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  73. Volpi I, Laville P, Bonari E, Nassi o di Nasso N, Bosco S (2017) Improving the management of mineral fertilizers for nitrous oxide mitigation: the effect of nitrogen fertilizer type, urease and nitrification inhibitors in two different textured soils. Geoderma 307:181–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Volpi I, Laville P, Bonari E, Nassi O Di Nasso N, Bosco S (2018) Nitrous oxide mitigation potential of reduced tillage and N input in durum wheat in the Mediterranean. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 111:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Yan G, Zheng X, Cui F, Yao Z, Zhou Z, Deng J, Xu Y (2013) Two-year simultaneous records of N2O and NO fluxes from a farmed cropland in the northern China plain with a reduced nitrogen addition rate by one-third. Agric Ecosyst Environ 178:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yeh ST (1991) Using trapezoidal rule for the area under a curve calculation. http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/sugi27/p229-27.pdf
  77. Žurovec O, Sitaula BK, Čustović H, Žurovec J, Dörsch P (2017) Effects of tillage practice on soil structure, N2O emissions and economics in cereal production under current socio-economic conditions in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. PLoS ONE 12:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Life SciencesScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly

Personalised recommendations