The use of double-cropping in combination with no-tillage and optimized nitrogen fertilization reduces soil N2O emissions under irrigation
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The irrigation systems of the Ebro valley can lead to high N2O emissions. The effects that crop diversification, such as double-cropping in combination with conservation tillage and different N fertilizer ratios, has on soil N2O emissions have not been extensively studied in this region. The goal of this research was to measure N2O soil emissions and determine the tillage practices and N fertilization rates that provide the lowest emissions when combined with double-cropping systems. The work compared monocropping maize (MC) versus legume-maize double-cropping (DC) with two tillage systems (conventional tillage, CT; and no-tillage, NT), and three mineral N fertilization rates (zero, medium and high). Pea for grain (2019), vetch for green manure (2020), and vetch for forage (2021) were the legumes employed. The N2O emissions ranged from 0 to 15.5 mg N2O-N m−2 d−1 and were concentrated in the fertilization periods. Soil temperature and water filled pore space (WFPS) content significantly influenced soil N2O emissions. For both cropping systems, the conditions with the highest N2O emissions were soil temperatures above 20 °C and a WFPS of 50–60 %. The use of legumes facilitated reduced N fertilization in DC without affecting crop yield and led to reduced N2O emissions in this cropping system. DC reduced the emission factor (EF), which in all cases was lower than the default IPCC EF (1 %). With DC, a medium N fertilization rate produced similar yields to the high rate commonly applied by farmers, and also entailed lower N2O emissions. The no-tillage system, although producing higher levels of N2O, achieved lower yield-scaled N2O emissions due to greater crop yields. This work underlines the advantages of using double-cropping no-tillage systems combined with medium rates of N fertilization to reduce soil N2O emissions.
Is part ofScience of the total environment, 2023, vol. 857, núm. 159458, p. 1-13
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