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Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions Affected by Irrigation, Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Nitrogen Fertilization

Upendra M. Sainju, William B. Stevens, Thecan Caesar-TonThat, Mark A. Liebig
Journal of environmental quality 2012 v.41 no.6 pp. 1774-1786
Hordeum vulgare, Pisum sativum, barley, carbon dioxide, continuous cropping, conventional tillage, crop rotation, fertilizer application, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, irrigation, malt, methane, nitrogen fertilizers, nitrous oxide, no-tillage, peas, sampling, sandy loam soils, soil temperature, North Dakota
Management practices, such as irrigation, tillage, cropping system, and N fertilization, may influence soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We quantified the effects of irrigation, tillage, crop rotation, and N fertilization on soil CO₂, N₂O, and CH₄ emissions from March to November, 2008 to 2011 in a Lihen sandy loam in western North Dakota. Treatments were two irrigation practices (irrigated and nonirrigated) and five cropping systems (conventional-tilled malt barley [Hordeum vulgaris L.] with N fertilizer [CT-N], conventional-tilled malt barley with no N fertilizer [CT-C], no-tilled malt barley–pea [Pisum sativum L.] with N fertilizer [NT-PN], no-tilled malt barley with N fertilizer [NT-N], and no-tilled malt barley with no N fertilizer [NT-C]). The GHG fluxes varied with date of sampling and peaked immediately after precipitation, irrigation, and/or N fertilization events during increased soil temperature. Both CO₂ and N₂O fluxes were greater in CT-N under the irrigated condition, but CH₄ uptake was greater in NT-PN under the nonirrigated condition than in other treatments. Although tillage and N fertilization increased CO₂ and N₂O fluxes by 8 to 30%, N fertilization and monocropping reduced CH₄ uptake by 39 to 40%. The NT-PN, regardless of irrigation, might mitigate GHG emissions by reducing CO₂ and N₂O emissions and increasing CH₄ uptake relative to other treatments. To account for global warming potential for such a practice, information on productions associated with CO₂ emissions along with N₂O and CH₄ fluxes is needed.