Progress on improving agricultural nitrogen use efficiency: UK-China virtual joint centers on nitrogen agronomy

Thomas H. Misselbrook*, ZHAOHAI Bai, Zejiang Cai, Weidong Cao, Alison Carswell, Nicholas J Cowan, Zhenling Cui, D Chadwick, Bridget A Emmett, Keith W.T. Goulding, Rui Jiang, Davey Jones, Xiaotang Ju, Hongbin Liu, Yuelai Lu, Lin Ma, D. S. Powlson, RM Rees, Ute M. Skiba, Pete SmithRoger Sylvester-Bradley, J Williams, L Wu, Minggang Xu, Wen Xu, Fusuo Zhang, Junling Zhang, J Zhou, Xuejun Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Two virtual joint centers for nitrogen agronomy were established between the UK and China to facilitate collaborative research aimed at improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in agricultural production systems and reducing losses of reactive N to the environment. Major focus areas were improving fertilizer NUE, use of livestock manures, soil health, and policy development and knowledge exchange. Improvements to fertilizer NUE included attention to application rate in the context of yield potential and economic considerations and the potential of improved practices including enhanced efficiency fertilizers, plastic film mulching and cropping design. Improved utilization of livestock manures requires knowledge of the available nutrient content, appropriate manure processing technologies and integrated nutrient management practices. Soil carbon, acidification and biodiversity were considered as important aspects of soil health. Both centers identified a range of potential actions that could be taken to improve N management, and the research conducted has highlighted the importance of developing a systems-level approach to assessing improvement in the overall efficiency of N management and avoiding unintended secondary effects from individual interventions. Within this context, the management of fertilizer emissions and livestock manure at the farm and regional scales appear to be particularly important targets for mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • nitrogen use efficiency
  • reactive nitrogen
  • Sustainable production

Rural Policy Centre Themes

  • Environment and climate

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