Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop

Nicholas Cowan*, Peter Levy, Andrea Moring, Ivan Simmons, Colin Bache, Amy Stephens, Joana Marinheiro, Jocelyn Brichet, Ling Song, Amy Pickard, Connie McNeill, Roseanne McDonald, Juliette Maire, Benjamin Loubet, Polina Voylokov, Mark Sutton, Ute Skiba

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Three different nitrogen (N) fertiliser types, ammonium nitrate, urea and urea coated with a urease inhibitor (Agrotain®), were applied at standard rates (70&thinsp;kg&thinsp;N&thinsp;ha<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">-1</span>) to experimental plots in a typical and intensively managed grassland area at the Easter Bush Farm Estate (Scotland). The nitrogen use efficiency of the fertilisers was investigated as well as nitrogen losses in the form of nitrous oxide fluxes (<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">N2O</span>) and ammonia (<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">NH3</span>) during fertilisation events in the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. Nitrous oxide was measured by the standard static chamber technique and analysed using Bayesian statistics. Ammonia was measured using passive samplers combined with the Flux Interpretation by Dispersion and Exchange over Short Range (FIDES) inverse dispersion model. On average, fertilisation with ammonium nitrate supported the largest yields and had the highest nitrogen use efficiency, but as large spatial and seasonal variation persisted across the plots, yield differences between the three fertiliser types and zero N control were not consistent. Overall, ammonium nitrate treatment was found to increase yields significantly (<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">p</span> value&thinsp;&lt;&thinsp;0.05) when compared to the urea fertilisers used in this study. Ammonium nitrate was the largest emitter of <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">N2O</span> (0.76&thinsp;% of applied N), and the urea was the largest emitter of <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">NH3</span> (16.5&thinsp;% of applied N). Urea coated with a urease inhibitor did not significantly increase yields when compared to uncoated urea; however, ammonia emissions were only 10&thinsp;% of the magnitude measured for the uncoated urea, and <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">N2O</span> emissions were only 47&thinsp;% of the magnitude of those measured for ammonium nitrate fertiliser. This study suggests that urea coated with a urease inhibitor is environmentally the best choice in regards to nitrogen pollution, but because of its larger cost and lack of agronomic benefits, it is not economically attractive when compared to ammonium nitrate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)4731-4745
Number of pages15
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume16
Issue number23
Early online date13 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 13 Dec 2019

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silage
nutrient use efficiency
nitrous oxide
urea
ammonium nitrate
ammonia
fertilizer
fertilizers
urease inhibitors
crop
nitrogen
crops
emitters (equipment)
inhibitor
nitrogen fertilizers
ammonium fertilizers
nitrate fertilizers
urea ammonium nitrate
urea fertilizers
samplers

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Cowan, N., Levy, P., Moring, A., Simmons, I., Bache, C., Stephens, A., ... Skiba, U. (2019). Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop. Biogeosciences, 16(23), 4731-4745. [16]. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-4731-2019
Cowan, Nicholas ; Levy, Peter ; Moring, Andrea ; Simmons, Ivan ; Bache, Colin ; Stephens, Amy ; Marinheiro, Joana ; Brichet, Jocelyn ; Song, Ling ; Pickard, Amy ; McNeill, Connie ; McDonald, Roseanne ; Maire, Juliette ; Loubet, Benjamin ; Voylokov, Polina ; Sutton, Mark ; Skiba, Ute. / Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop. In: Biogeosciences. 2019 ; Vol. 16, No. 23. pp. 4731-4745.
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abstract = "Three different nitrogen (N) fertiliser types, ammonium nitrate, urea and urea coated with a urease inhibitor (Agrotain{\circledR}), were applied at standard rates (70&thinsp;kg&thinsp;N&thinsp;ha-1) to experimental plots in a typical and intensively managed grassland area at the Easter Bush Farm Estate (Scotland). The nitrogen use efficiency of the fertilisers was investigated as well as nitrogen losses in the form of nitrous oxide fluxes (N2O) and ammonia (NH3) during fertilisation events in the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. Nitrous oxide was measured by the standard static chamber technique and analysed using Bayesian statistics. Ammonia was measured using passive samplers combined with the Flux Interpretation by Dispersion and Exchange over Short Range (FIDES) inverse dispersion model. On average, fertilisation with ammonium nitrate supported the largest yields and had the highest nitrogen use efficiency, but as large spatial and seasonal variation persisted across the plots, yield differences between the three fertiliser types and zero N control were not consistent. Overall, ammonium nitrate treatment was found to increase yields significantly (p value&thinsp;<&thinsp;0.05) when compared to the urea fertilisers used in this study. Ammonium nitrate was the largest emitter of N2O (0.76&thinsp;{\%} of applied N), and the urea was the largest emitter of NH3 (16.5&thinsp;{\%} of applied N). Urea coated with a urease inhibitor did not significantly increase yields when compared to uncoated urea; however, ammonia emissions were only 10&thinsp;{\%} of the magnitude measured for the uncoated urea, and N2O emissions were only 47&thinsp;{\%} of the magnitude of those measured for ammonium nitrate fertiliser. This study suggests that urea coated with a urease inhibitor is environmentally the best choice in regards to nitrogen pollution, but because of its larger cost and lack of agronomic benefits, it is not economically attractive when compared to ammonium nitrate.",
author = "Nicholas Cowan and Peter Levy and Andrea Moring and Ivan Simmons and Colin Bache and Amy Stephens and Joana Marinheiro and Jocelyn Brichet and Ling Song and Amy Pickard and Connie McNeill and Roseanne McDonald and Juliette Maire and Benjamin Loubet and Polina Voylokov and Mark Sutton and Ute Skiba",
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Cowan, N, Levy, P, Moring, A, Simmons, I, Bache, C, Stephens, A, Marinheiro, J, Brichet, J, Song, L, Pickard, A, McNeill, C, McDonald, R, Maire, J, Loubet, B, Voylokov, P, Sutton, M & Skiba, U 2019, 'Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop', Biogeosciences, vol. 16, no. 23, 16, pp. 4731-4745. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-4731-2019

Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop. / Cowan, Nicholas; Levy, Peter; Moring, Andrea; Simmons, Ivan; Bache, Colin; Stephens, Amy; Marinheiro, Joana; Brichet, Jocelyn; Song, Ling; Pickard, Amy; McNeill, Connie; McDonald, Roseanne; Maire, Juliette; Loubet, Benjamin; Voylokov, Polina; Sutton, Mark; Skiba, Ute.

In: Biogeosciences, Vol. 16, No. 23, 16, 13.12.2019, p. 4731-4745.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Nitrogen use efficiency and N2O and NH3 losses attributed to three fertiliser types applied to an intensively managed silage crop

AU - Cowan, Nicholas

AU - Levy, Peter

AU - Moring, Andrea

AU - Simmons, Ivan

AU - Bache, Colin

AU - Stephens, Amy

AU - Marinheiro, Joana

AU - Brichet, Jocelyn

AU - Song, Ling

AU - Pickard, Amy

AU - McNeill, Connie

AU - McDonald, Roseanne

AU - Maire, Juliette

AU - Loubet, Benjamin

AU - Voylokov, Polina

AU - Sutton, Mark

AU - Skiba, Ute

PY - 2019/12/13

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