Nitrous Oxide

Current research programme

The current focus of the NZAGRC’s nitrous oxide (N2O) research programme is on measuring the effects pasture plants and pasture plant communities have on nitrous oxide emissions.

This work is closely aligned to the MBIE P21 and Forages for Nitrate Leaching programmes (FRNL). In addition, an investigative project on a technology to locate and treat urine patches was completed in 2015/16.

Learn more about:

Principal investigators

Dr Cecile de Klein, AgResearch
Professor Hong Di, Lincoln University

Research Stories

Nitrous oxide emissions from cattle urine deposited onto soil supporting a winter forage kale crop

van der Weerden, T. J., T. M. Styles, et al. (2017). "Nitrous oxide emissions from cattle urine deposited onto soil supporting a winter forage kale crop." New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 60(2): 119-130.

Abstract
Wintering cows on forage crops leads to urine being excreted onto wet, compacted soils, which can result in significant emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). A field trial was conducted to determine the N2O emission factor (EF3; proportion of urine-N lost as N2O-N) for dairy cows wintered on a kale forage crop on a poorly drained soil. Urine was collected from non-lactating dairy cows on a forage kale diet and applied at 550 kg N ha−1 to artificially compacted soil to simulate trampling and non-compacted soil in a kale field. Cumulative N2O losses over four months were 7.38 and 2.64 kg N2O-N ha−1 from urine applied to, respectively, compacted and non-compacted soil. The corresponding EF3 values 0.75% and 0.30%, respectively, differed (P = .003) due to compaction. Combining our results with previous studies, where brassica-fed livestock urine was applied to soils supporting a forage brassica crop, suggested a significant relationship between soil water-filled pore space (WFPS) and brassica-derived urine EF3 (P = .005).

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