Nitrogen, tillage, and crop rotation effects on carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from irrigated cropping systems

Francesco Alluvione, Ardell D Halvorson, Stephen J Del Grosso
Journal of Environmental Quality 2009, 38 (5): 2023-33
Long-term effects of tillage intensity, N fertilization, and crop rotation on carbon dioxide (CO(2)) and methane (CH(4)) flux from semiarid irrigated soils are poorly understood. We evaluated effects of: (i) tillage intensity [no-till (NT) and conventional moldboard plow tillage (CT)] in a continuous corn rotation; (ii) N fertilization levels [0-246 kg N ha(-1) for corn (Zea mays L.); 0 and 56 kg N ha(-1) for dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.); 0 and 112 kg N ha(-1) for barley (Hordeum distichon L.)]; and (iii) crop rotation under NT soil management [corn-barley (NT-CB); continuous corn (NT-CC); corn-dry bean (NT-CDb)] on CO(2) and CH(4) flux from a clay loam soil. Carbon dioxide and CH(4) fluxes were monitored one to three times per week using vented nonsteady state closed chambers. No-till reduced (14%) growing season (154 d) cumulative CO(2) emissions relative to CT (NT: 2.08 Mg CO(2)-C ha(-1); CT: 2.41 Mg CO(2)-C ha(-1)), while N fertilization had no effect. Significantly lower (18%) growing season CO(2) fluxes were found in NT-CDb than NT-CC and NT-CB (11.4, 13.2 and 13.9 kg CO(2)-C ha(-1)d(-1) respectively). Growing season CH(4) emissions were higher in NT (20.2 g CH(4) ha(-1)) than in CT (1.2 g CH(4) ha(-1)). Nitrogen fertilization and cropping rotation did not affect CH(4) flux. Implementation of NT for 7 yr with no N fertilization was not adequate for restoring the CH(4) oxidation capacity of this clay loam soil relative to CT plowed and fertilized soil.

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