A review of nitrous oxide mitigation by farm nitrogen management in temperate grassland-based agriculture

J Environ Manage. 2013 Oct 15;128:893-903. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.06.026. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

Abstract

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from grassland-based agriculture is an important source of atmospheric N2O. It is hence crucial to explore various solutions including farm nitrogen (N) management to mitigate N2O emissions without sacrificing farm profitability and food supply. This paper reviews major N management practices to lower N2O emission from grassland-based agriculture. Restricted grazing by reducing grazing time is an effective way to decrease N2O emissions from excreta patches. Balancing the protein-to-energy ratios in the diets of ruminants can also decrease N2O emissions from excreta patches. Among the managements of synthetic fertilizer N application, only adjusting fertilizer N rate and slow-released fertilizers are proven to be effective in lowering N2O emissions. Use of bedding materials may increase N2O emissions from animal houses. Manure storage as slurry, manipulating slurry pH to values lower than 6 and storage as solid manure under anaerobic conditions help to reduce N2O emissions during manure storage stage. For manure land application, N2O emissions can be mitigated by reducing manure N inputs to levels that satisfy grass needs. Use of nitrification inhibitors can substantially lower N2O emissions associated with applications of fertilizers and manures and from urine patches. N2O emissions from legume based grasslands are generally lower than fertilizer-based systems. In conclusion, effective measures should be taken at each step during N flow or combined options should be used in order to mitigate N2O emission at the farm level.

Keywords: Mitigation options; N management; Nitrous oxide; Temperate grassland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Animals
  • Climate
  • Fertilizers
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Herbivory
  • Housing, Animal
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Livestock
  • Manure
  • Nitrogen
  • Nitrous Oxide*
  • Poaceae

Substances

  • Fertilizers
  • Manure
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Nitrogen