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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Deep N fertilizer placement mitigated N2O emissions in a Swedish field trial with cereals

Rychel, Katrin; Meurer, Katharina H. E.; Borjesson, Gunnar; Stromgren, Monika; Getahun, Gizachew Tarekegn; Kirchmann, Holger; Katterer, Thomas


Deep fertilizer placement is a proposed strategy to increase crop yield and nitrogen (N) use efficiency while decreasing nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from soil to atmosphere. Our objective was to test three fertilization depth orientations to compare overall N use efficiency, based on a 2-year field trial on a mineral soil cropped with cereals in Uppsala, Sweden. The field was fertilized with ammonium nitrate at a rate of 120 kg ha(-1)(2016) and 105 kg ha(-1)(2017) and a deep fertilizer placement (DP) at 0.20 m was compared to a shallow placement (SP) at 0.07 m and a mixed-depth placement (MP) where fertilizer was halved between the depths of 0.07 and 0.20 m, and a non-fertilized control (NF). In 2016, compared to SP, MP and DP increased N content in harvested grain by 3.6% and 2.5% respectively, and DP increased grain yield by 11% (P < 0.05). In both years, N2O emissions were similar in DP and NF, whereas SP and MP emissions were similar but generally higher than those in DP and NF. Fertilizer-induced emission factors (EF) for the growing season of 2017 decreased with fertilizer placement depth and were 0.77 +/- 0.07, 0.58 +/- 0.03, and 0.10 +/- 0.02 for SP, MP, and DP, repectively. Although deep N placement benefits are likely dependent on weather conditions and soil type, this strategy has a clear potential for mitigating N2O emissions without adversely affecting yield.


Nitrous oxide; Deep N fertilization; Nitrogen use efficiency; Fertilizer N placement

Published in

Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems
2020, Volume: 118, pages: 133-148
Publisher: SPRINGER