Nitrous oxide mitigation in UK agriculture

RM Rees, JA Baddeley, A Bhogal, BC Ball, DR Chadwick, M MacLeod, A Lilly, VA Pappa, RE Thorman, CA Watson, JR Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrous oxide (N2O) makes the single largest contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from UK and European Union agriculture. Ambitious government targets for GHG mitigation are leading to the implementation of changes in agricultural management in order to reduce these emissions (mitigation measures). We review the evidence for the contribution of those measures with the greatest mitigation potential which provide an estimated 4.3 tCO2e ha 1 y 1 GHG reduction in the UK. The mitigation options considered were: using biological fixation to provide nitrogen (N) inputs (clover, Trifolium), reducing N fertilizer, improving land drainage, avoiding N excess, fully accounting for manure/slurry N, species introduction (including legumes), improved timing of mineral fertilizer N application, nitrification inhibitors, improved timing of slurry and manure application, and adopting systems less reliant on inputs. These measures depend mostly on increasing the efficiency of N fertilizer use and improving soil conditions; however, they provide the added benefit of increasing the economic efficiency of farming systems, and can often be viewed as ‘‘win-win’’ solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3 - 15
Number of pages13
JournalSoil Science and Plant Nutrition
Publication statusPrint publication - 2013

Bibliographical note



  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Manure
  • Mitigation
  • N2O
  • Nitrogen


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