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Dryland Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions Affected by Cropping Sequence and Nitrogen Fertilization

Upendra M. Sainju, Thecan Caesar-TonThat, Andrew W. Lenssen, Joy L. Barsotti
Soil Science Society of America journal 2012 v.76 no.5 pp. 1741-1757
Hordeum vulgare, Pisum sativum, arid soils, carbon dioxide, continuous cropping, conventional tillage, crop rotation, crop yield, cropping sequence, fallow, fertilizer application, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, malt, malting barley, methane, methane production, nitrogen fertilizers, nitrous oxide, no-tillage, rain intensity, risk reduction, soil air, soil depth, soil temperature, soil water content, spatial variation, Montana
Information is needed to mitigate dryland soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using novel management practices. We evaluated the effects of cropping sequence and N fertilization on dryland soil temperature and water content at the 0- to 15-cm depth and surface CO₂, N₂O, and CH₄ fluxes in a Williams loam (fine-loamy, mixed, superactive, frigid, Typic Argiustolls) in eastern Montana. Treatments were no-tilled continuous malt barley (Hordeum vulgaris L.) (NTCB), no-tilled malt barley–pea (Pisum sativum L.) (NTB–P), and conventional-tilled malt barley–fallow (CTB–F) (control), each with 0 and 80 kg N ha⁻¹. Gas fluxes were measured at 3 to 14 d intervals using static, vented chambers from March to November 2008 to 2011. Soil temperature varied but water content was greater in CTB–F than in other treatments. The GHG fluxes varied with date of sampling, peaking immediately after substantial precipitation (>15 mm) and N fertilization during increased soil temperature. Total CO₂ flux from March to November was greater in NTCB and NTB–P with 80 kg N ha⁻¹ than in other treatments from 2008 to 2010. Total N₂O flux was greater in NTCB with 0 kg N ha⁻¹ and in NTB–P with 80 kg N ha⁻¹ than in other treatments in 2008 and 2011. Total CH₄ uptake was greater with 80 than with 0 kg N ha⁻¹ in NTCB in 2009 and 2011. Because of intermediate level of CO₂ equivalent of GHG emissions and known favorable effect on malt barley yield, NTB–P with 0 kg N ha⁻¹ might mitigate GHG emissions and sustain crop yields compared to other treatments in eastern Montana. For accounting global warming potential of management practices, however, additional information on soil C dynamics and CO₂ associated with production inputs and machinery use are needed.