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Greenhouse gas mitigation in rice–wheat system with leaf color chart-based urea application

Bhatia, Arti, Pathak, Himanshu, Jain, Niveta, Singh, Pawan K., Tomer, Ritu
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2012 v.184 no.5 pp. 3095-3107
Oryza sativa, Triticum aestivum, carbon, carbon dioxide, color, emissions, environmental indicators, fertilizer application, global warming, greenhouse gases, leaves, losses from soil, methane, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, nutrient management, rice, soil nutrients, split application, urea, urea fertilizers, wheat, wheat soils, India
Conventional blanket application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer results in more loss of N from soil system and emission of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG). The leaf color chart (LCC) can be used for real-time N management and synchronizing N application with crop demand to reduce GHG emission. A 1-year study was carried out to evaluate the impact of conventional and LCC-based urea application on emission of nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide in a rice–wheat system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of India. Treatments consisted of LCC scores of ≤4 and 5 for rice and wheat and were compared with conventional fixed-time N splitting schedule. The LCC-based urea application reduced nitrous oxide emission in rice and wheat. Application of 120 kg N per hectare at LCC ≤ 4 decreased nitrous oxide emission by 16% and methane by 11% over the conventional split application of urea in rice. However, application of N at LCC ≤ 5 increased nitrous oxide emission by 11% over the LCC ≤ 4 treatment in rice. Wheat reduction of nitrous oxide at LCC ≤ 4 was 18% as compared to the conventional method. Application of LCC-based N did not affect carbon dioxide emission from soil in rice and wheat. The global warming potential (GWP) were 12,395 and 13,692 kg CO₂ ha⁻¹ in LCC ≤ 4 and conventional urea application, respectively. Total carbon fixed in conventional urea application in rice–wheat system was 4.89 Mg C ha⁻¹ and it increased to 5.54 Mg C ha⁻¹ in LCC-based urea application (LCC ≤ 4). The study showed that LCC-based urea application can reduce GWP of a rice–wheat system by 10.5%.