A Closer Look At Links Between Fertilizers And Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Researchers at the USDA are learning more about the mechanics of how nitrogen fertilizers contribute to the development of greenhouse gases. These studies, conducted by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Rodney Venterea, support the USDA priority of responding to global climate change. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.

Nitrous oxide can absorb 300 times more radiation than carbon dioxide. After the application of nitrogen fertilizers, soil microbes can convert nitrogen into nitrate and then into nitrous oxide. However, Venterea suspected nitrous oxide emissions are even more strongly correlated with levels of nitrite, another form of nitrogen that is not commonly measured.

Venterea conducted a study in maize over two growing seasons that examined the effects of different nitrogen fertilizer sources and application methods on nitrous oxide. The fertilizers were conventional urea, polymer-coated urea, urea infused with microbial inhibitors, and a 50/50 mixture of conventional urea and urea with inhibitors.

Venterea’s results indicated that nitrous oxide emissions were strongly linked to soil nitrite levels, which accounted for 44% to 73% of the variation in nitrous oxide emissions.

The results also showed that the lowest levels of nitrite and nitrous oxide occurred with the fertilizer that contained urea-infused microbial inhibitors. The 50/50 mixture also reduced both nitrite and nitrous oxide.

Venterea believes that nitrite can produce nitrous oxide quickly under a broader range of conditions, especially when soil is in an oxygenated condition, which it tends to be most of the time except following large rainfall events.

Venterea works in the ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit in St. Paul, MN. He and his co-author, University of Minnesota graduate student Bijesh Maharjan, published these results in 2013 in Soil Biology and Biochemistry.

This work was conducted as part of GRACENET (Greenhouse-Gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement Network), a national network of ARS research projects investigating the effects of management practices on soil carbon sequestration, trace gas emissions, and environmental quality.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “A Closer Look At Links Between Fertilizers And Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  1. There is a serious flaw in these Gracenet tests in that there was no effort to identify the different microbial strains in the soil. Microorganisms run the Nitrogen Cycle. Nitrifying bacteria convert ammonium into nitrites and then into nitrates. What role do denitrifying bacteria play ? Why not add the Rhodospirillum rubrum microbial strain which would reduce to need for any type of fertilizer by 40% while increasing the crop yield. ? When you add microbial inhibitors what strains of bacteria are eliminated?

Crop Inputs Stories

Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To Evaluate Economic Impact Of Soil Health Practices
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 2017
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Invertebrates
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered At Indiana CCA Conference
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More