Nitrous oxide emissions with enhanced efficiency nitrogen fertilizers in a rainfed system

Curtis J. Dell, Kun Han, Ray B. Bryant, John P. Schmidt

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43 Scopus citations


The use of enhanced efficiency N fertilizers can increase crop N utilization and lead to lower emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O. To determine the potential benefit of four enhanced efficiency fertilizers with rainfed corn (Zea mays L.) production in central Pennsylvania, N2O emissions and grain yield were monitored during a 4-yr field study and compared with untreated urea prills and urea-NH4NO3 (UAN). The tested enhanced efficiency products were ESN (polymer-coated urea), SuperU (urease and nitrification inhibitor treated urea), UAN treated with AgrotainPlus (urease and nitrification inhibitors), and PiNT (cation-stabilized amine-N). Additionally, 28-d laboratory incubations were conducted to verify the potential differences in N cycling rates among N sources. The laboratory incubations indicated that ESN, SuperU, and treated UAN all had the potential to delay accumulation of NO3 relative to untreated urea and UAN, but N cycling was similar with PiNT and the untreated fertilizers. Extended dry periods limited the denitrification potential and overall N2O emissions in the field, but spikes of N2O emission were seen within 1 mo after fertilizer application in each year. However, variation in emission rates was high within treatments, and no consistent differences among N sources were seen. Cumulative growing season N2O emissions and grain yield were similar for all N sources in each year of the study. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers do not appear to be an effective means to reduce N2O emission in a rainfed system, at least when rainfall is inconsistent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-731
Number of pages9
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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