Navigation Links
How much fertilizer is too much for the climate?
Date:6/9/2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. Helping farmers around the globe apply more-precise amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizer can help combat climate change.

In a new study published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University researchers provide an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields.

The study uses data from around the world to show that emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas produced in the soil following nitrogen addition, rise faster than previously expected when fertilizer rates exceed crop needs.

Nitrogen-based fertilizers spur greenhouse gas emissions by stimulating microbes in the soil to produce more nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas, behind only carbon dioxide and methane, and also destroys stratospheric ozone. Agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions worldwide, which have increased substantially in recent years, primarily due to increased nitrogen fertilizer use.

"Our specific motivation is to learn where to best target agricultural efforts to slow global warming," said Phil Robertson, director of MSU's Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research Program and senior author of the paper. "Agriculture accounts for 8 to 14 percent of all greenhouse gas production globally. We're showing how farmers can help to reduce this number by applying nitrogen fertilizer more precisely."

The production of nitrous oxide can be greatly reduced if the amount of fertilizer crops need is exactly the amount that's applied to farmers' fields. Simply put, when plant nitrogen needs are matched with the nitrogen that's supplied, fertilizer has substantially less effect on greenhouse gas emission, Robertson said.

Iurii Shcherbak, lead author and MSU researcher, noted that the research also informs fertilizer practices in underfertilized areas such as sub-Saharan Africa.

"Because nitrous oxide emissions won't be accelerated by fertilizers until crop nitrogen needs are met, more nitrogen fertilizer can be added to underfertilized crops with little impact on emissions," she said.

Adding less nitrogen to overfertilized crops elsewhere, however, would deliver major reductions to greenhouse gas emissions in those regions.

This study provides support for expanding the use of carbon credits to pay farmers for better fertilizer management. Carbon credits for fertilizer management are now available to U.S. corn farmers. This paper provides a framework for using this system around the world.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the Electric Power Research Institute. Robertson's work also is funded in part by MSU AgBioresearch.


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Fertilizer in small doses yields higher returns for less money
2. Worldwide study finds that fertilizer destabilizes grasslands
3. Engineers teach old chemical new tricks to make cleaner fuels, fertilizers
4. Study challenges soil testing for potassium and the fertilizer value of potassium chloride
5. Nitrogen fertilizer remains in soils and leaks towards groundwater for decades, researchers find
6. Vetch cover crop, fertilizer practices recommended for organic zucchini
7. Strengthening legumes to tackle fertilizer pollution
8. Fertilizers could help tackle nutritional deficiency in African country, researchers say
9. Turf study to monitor runoff, establish fertilizer management practices
10. Using wastewater as fertilizer
11. Scientists develop new carbon accounting method to reduce farmers use of nitrogen fertilizer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/21/2016)... , Nov. 21, 2016   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced that the MegaMatcher ... cards was submitted for the NIST Minutiae ... passed all the mandatory steps of the evaluation ... is a continuing test of fingerprint templates used ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... , Nov. 17, 2016 Global Market Watch: ... Public Biobanks (Disease-Based Banks, Population-Based Banks and Academics) market is ... analysis for Private Biobanks shows the highest Compounded Annual Growth ... region during the analysis period 2014-2020. ... CAGR of 9.95% followed by Europe ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... Calif. , Nov. 16, 2016 ... user experience and security for consumer electronics, and ... the financial and retail industry, today announced a ... and convenient way to authenticate users of mobile ... Sensory,s TrulySecure™ software which requires no ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Mich. , Dec. 7, 2016 Neogen ... has named Dr. Dan Kephart as its ... company. Kephart will assume his responsibilities at Neogen effective ... and development director for the agribusiness unit of Thermo ... safety development at Life Technologies. His extensive industry experience ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... CALGARY , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ... update that will be presented at the Company,s Annual and ... Meeting of Shareholders will take place on Thursday, December 15, ... Ross Glenn Hall (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate ... am (MST). A notice of meeting and management information circular, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Biocom, the association for the ... below following passage of 21 st Century Cures legislation ... 30 by a 392-26 vote and in the Senate on ... attributed to Joe Panetta , president & CEO of ... give hope to millions of patients around the world. The ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016  Vyriad Inc. announced ... to the company,s Board of Directors. "We ... we build our business and develop our oncolytic viruses ... therapy," said Stephen Russell , MD, PhD, CEO ... , share our vision and passion for making a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: