Effects of nitrogen fertilizer application on greenhouse gas emissions and economics of corn production

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    Abstract

    Nitrogen fertilizer plays an important role in corn cultivation in terms of both economic and environmental aspects. Nitrogen fertilizer positively affects corn yield and the soil organic carbon level, but it also has negative environmental effects through nitrogen-related emissions from soil (e.g., N 2O, NOx, NO3- leaching, etc.). Effects of nitrogen fertilizer on greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain are investigated via life cycle assessment. Ecoefficiency analysis is also used to determine an economically and environmentally optimal nitrogen application rate (NAR). The ecoefficiency index in this study is defined as the ratio of economic return due to nitrogen fertilizer to the greenhouse gas emissions of corn cultivation. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain decrease as NAR increases at a lower NAR until a minimum greenhouse gas emission level is reached because corn yield and soil organic carbon level increase with NAR. Further increasing NAR after a minimum greenhouse gas emission level raises greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain. Increased greenhouse gas emissions of corn grain due to nitrous oxide emissions from soil are much higher than reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of corn grain due to corn yield and changes in soil organic carbon levels at a higher NAR. Thus, there exists an environmentally optimal NAR in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The trends of the ecoefficiency index are similar to those of economic return to nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain. Therefore, an appropriate NAR could enhance profitability as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)6028-6033
    Number of pages6
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume42
    Issue number16
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 15 2008

    Profile

    Gas emissions
    Greenhouse gases
    nitrogen
    Androstanes
    Androgens
    maize
    Nitrogen
    greenhouse gas
    Nitrogen fertilizers
    Soils
    Amniotic Fluid
    Economics
    Transmissible Enteritis of Turkeys
    fertilizer
    economics
    Organic carbon
    Contraception
    organic carbon
    soil
    Glucagon-Like Peptides

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Environmental Chemistry

    Cite this

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    title = "Effects of nitrogen fertilizer application on greenhouse gas emissions and economics of corn production",
    abstract = "Nitrogen fertilizer plays an important role in corn cultivation in terms of both economic and environmental aspects. Nitrogen fertilizer positively affects corn yield and the soil organic carbon level, but it also has negative environmental effects through nitrogen-related emissions from soil (e.g., N 2O, NOx, NO3- leaching, etc.). Effects of nitrogen fertilizer on greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain are investigated via life cycle assessment. Ecoefficiency analysis is also used to determine an economically and environmentally optimal nitrogen application rate (NAR). The ecoefficiency index in this study is defined as the ratio of economic return due to nitrogen fertilizer to the greenhouse gas emissions of corn cultivation. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain decrease as NAR increases at a lower NAR until a minimum greenhouse gas emission level is reached because corn yield and soil organic carbon level increase with NAR. Further increasing NAR after a minimum greenhouse gas emission level raises greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain. Increased greenhouse gas emissions of corn grain due to nitrous oxide emissions from soil are much higher than reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of corn grain due to corn yield and changes in soil organic carbon levels at a higher NAR. Thus, there exists an environmentally optimal NAR in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The trends of the ecoefficiency index are similar to those of economic return to nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain. Therefore, an appropriate NAR could enhance profitability as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn grain.",
    author = "Seungdo Kim and Dale, {Bruce E.}",
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