Enhanced-efficiency fertilizer impacts on yield-scaled nitrous oxide emissions in maize

Rebecca F. Graham, Kristin D. Greer, Maria B. Villamil, Emerson D. Nafziger, Cameron M. Pittelkow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Balancing efforts to mitigate nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from crop production while increasing grain yields is an important challenge for agriculture. The objectives of this study were to assess N 2 O emissions, soil inorganic nitrogen (N) concentrations, grain yield, and grain N content for three enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers (EENFs) compared with anhydrous ammonia in a rainfed corn system in Illinois over 3 yr (2015–2017). Treatments included a control (check) and four N sources applied at 202 kg N ha -1 : injected anhydrous ammonia, stabilized urea containing urease and nitrification inhibitors (SuperU, Agrotain International), polymer-coated urea (ESN, Agrium Advanced Technologies), and injected urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) + nitrapyrin. Significant reductions in N 2 O emissions were observed for several EENFs compared with anhydrous ammonia, but results were not consistent across treatments and years. SuperU reduced area- and yield-scaled N 2 O emissions in two of three study years compared with anhydrous ammonia, while ESN had no N 2 O mitigation benefit. Injected UAN + nitrapyrin had the highest emissions in the first year but significantly decreased emissions in the second 2 yr. No treatment significantly improved yield or grain N content compared with anhydrous ammonia. In light of efforts to broadly promote EENFs in the US Midwest, these results demonstrate there is some promise for N 2 O mitigation, but the lack of clear crop productivity benefits combined with inconsistent N 2 O mitigation effects do not support the conclusion that EENFs inherently improve agronomic and environmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1481
Number of pages13
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 25 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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