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Reducing Nitrogen Losses from Agriculture Using a Nitrification Inhibitor ( eco-n ). Professor Keith Cameron, Professor Hong Di and Dr Jim Moir Centre for Soil and Environmental Quality Lincoln University, Canterbury New Zealand. Two main nitrogen losses from agriculture.

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reducing nitrogen losses from agriculture using a nitrification inhibitor eco n

Reducing Nitrogen Losses from Agriculture Using a Nitrification Inhibitor (eco-n)

Professor Keith Cameron, Professor Hong Di and Dr Jim Moir

Centre for Soil and Environmental Quality

Lincoln University, Canterbury

New Zealand

two main nitrogen losses from agriculture
Two main nitrogen losses from agriculture
  • Nitrate leaching in drainage water causes pollution of surface and groundwater
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) is given off by soil and is a potent greenhouse gas.

NZ agricultural greenhouse gases

slide5

Underground laboratory constructed to house lysimeters under typical soil and environmental conditions

slide6

Typical rainfall, temperature,

irrigation, fertiliser, pastures,

and urine applied.

Surface of lysimeters level with surface of paddock.

slide8

Drainage water is collected in the underground laboratory to measure nitrate leaching losses directly from soils.

slide10

Results show that in dairy farming urine patches are the main sources of nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions

improved nitrogen management is now possible with the newly developed eco n nitrification inhibitor

Improved nitrogen management is now possible with the newly developed eco-n nitrification inhibitor.

slide13

Nitrate ions (NO3-) are not held by soil particles and can easily be leached when drainage occurs

NH4+

- - - -

Cation exchange

NO3-

The Nitrogen Cycle

(McLaren & Cameron, 1996)

slide14

NH4+

- - - -

Cation exchange

Nitrification inhibitor ‘eco-n’ slows down the rate of nitrate production and thus reduces the nitrate leaching loss

NO3-

The Nitrogen Cycle

(McLaren & Cameron, 1996)

slide15
The inhibitor temporarily reduces the activity of the nitrosomonas bacteria in the soil (Bacteriostatic effect)
slide16

Nitrification inhibitor (‘eco-n’) is applied as a fine suspension spray to improve soil N cycle efficiency and reduce the risk of nitrate leaching

slide17

CHRISTCHURCH: Mean Soil Temperature (at 10cm) and

Estimated Drainage (mm)

50

20

45

18

40

16

35

14

C)

0

30

12

Estimated Drainage (mm)

Soil Temperature

25

10

20

8

15

6

10

4

Drainage (mm)

5

2

Soil Temp (C)

0

0

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Months

Eco-n is applied in May and July/August because most losses occur between late autumn and early spring

eco-n

eco-n

Drainage

slide18

In North Island Eco-n is applied in May and July because leaching also occurs in the winter/early spring

HAMILTON: Mean Soil Temperatures (at 10 cm) and

Estimated Drainage (mm)

120

20

eco-n

eco-n

18

100

16

14

C)

80

0

12

Estimated Drainage (mm)

60

10

Soil Temperature (

8

40

6

4

Drainage

20

Soil Temp (C)

2

0

0

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Months

Drainage

slide20

Eco-n applied twice (May plus August) reduced the nitrate concentration from urine applied in May(Templeton soil) (Di and Cameron, 2004. NZ J Agr. Res. 47)

Urine only

Urine plus eco-n (May + Aug)

slide21

Eco-n reduced the nitrate leaching loss by 76%(Templeton soil) (Di and Cameron, 2004).

Urine only

Urine plus eco-n (May + Aug)

slide22

3 year trial shows that eco-n inhibitor significantly reduced nitrate leaching losses from Taupo pumice soils

Eco-n reduced nitrate leaching by 30 – 40%

slide24

Nitrous oxide gas emissions are measured using gas chambers placed on the lysimeters for 30 minutes each day.

slide25

Source: National Inventory Report: 1990-2003

(Ministry for the Environment, April 2005)

slide28

NZ’s Agricultural nitrous oxide emissions reduced with ‘eco-n’

2005 scenarios

National Inventory Report: 1990-2005

(Ministry for the Environment, April 2007)

slide30

Lincoln University

Control plot: no ‘eco-n’

Lincoln University

‘eco-n’ plot

Retaining More Nitrogen in the Soil Produces More Pasture Growth

slide32

Average Annual Pasture Yield – LUDF South Block

4 Years - 2002/03 to 2005/06 Seasons

Moir et al., 2007

slide36

Research results show:

Decrease in nitrous oxide emissions

Increase in annual farm pasture production

Decrease in nitrate leaching

slide37

Eco-n is based on New Zealand research trials published in internationally peer reviewed science journals

  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2002) Soil Use and Management18: 395-403.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2003) Soil Use and Management19: 184-290.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2004a) Soil Use and Management20: 2-7.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2004b) NZ Journal of Agricultural Research47: 351-361.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2004c) Australian Journal of Soil Research42: 927-932.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2005) Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 109: 202-212.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2006) Biology and Fertility of Soils 42: 472-480.
  • Di HJ, Cameron KC and Sherlock (2007) Soil Use and Management 23: 1-9.
  • Moir JM, Cameron KC and Di, HJ (2007) Soil Use and Management 23: 111-120.
  • Clough TJ, Di HJ, Cameron KC, Sherlock, RR, Metherell AK, Clark H and Rys, G (2007) Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 78: 1-14.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2007) Nutrient cycling in Agroecosystems79,281-290.
  • Di HJ and Cameron KC (2008) Australian Journal of Soil Research42: 927-932.
slide38

Lincoln University would like to thank Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd, and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC) for funding this research.