Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tools that will help reduce nitrogen pollution

Date:
September 13, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A soil scientist in Colorado is helping farmers grow crops with less nitrogen-based fertilizer. The fertilizers are a major reason why agriculture is a significant source of both greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in estuaries like the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. If growers apply too little fertilizer, it reduces crop yields. But if they apply too much, the excess can be released into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide or leach into waterways as nitrate.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) soil scientist in Colorado is helping farmers grow crops with less nitrogen-based fertilizer.

The fertilizers are a major reason why agriculture is a significant source of both greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in estuaries like the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. If growers apply too little fertilizer, it reduces crop yields. But if they apply too much, the excess can be released into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide or leach into waterways as nitrate.

Jorge Delgado, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Soil Plant Nutrient Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo., conducts research to help growers determine exactly how much nitrogen to apply to a field, when to apply it and what alternatives might work best. The right approach can vary from one location to the next and one crop to the next.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priorities of responding to climate change and promoting agricultural sustainability.

Delgado helped develop a tool designed for fledgling "environmental trading" credit programs that reward growers for reducing nitrogen losses. Known as the "Nitrogen Trading Tool" (NTT), it can be used to determine how much a proposed management practice may be able to reduce nitrogen losses, and how much "trading credit" could be earned by switching to it.

The concept of trading nitrogen credits is in its formative stages, but efforts have been established in Pennsylvania and Ohio, with municipalities and state environmental agencies in several states and watersheds studying the concept.

Delgado has distributed the NTT and other tools to hundreds of users, including farmers, agribusinesses, scientists, extension agents, state and federal agencies and international users. He also has used them to convince growers to improve soil-management practices by using conservation tillage, crop rotation and cover crops such as wheat, rye and other grasses. Such practices not only prevent nitrates from leaching into waterways, but prevent soils from eroding and keep carbon and nutrients sequestered in the soil.

Delgado also has published a peer-reviewed report in Advances in Agronomy showing how the NTT may be used to calculate the potential for nitrogen trading on a Virginia no-till operation, an Ohio farm where manure is applied, and irrigated barley and potato fields in Colorado. His efforts to reduce nitrogen losses in Mexico also have been published in the journal Terra Latinoamerica.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tools that will help reduce nitrogen pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913140236.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, September 13). Tools that will help reduce nitrogen pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913140236.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tools that will help reduce nitrogen pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913140236.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins