Study Could Change Fertilizer Use

Taylor Hillman Citrus, Cotton, Environment, Field & Row Crops, Forage Crops, General, Grain, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

Sabrina Hill
A study by UC Davis could lead to changes in fertilizer uses and better air quality. Sabrina Hill reports.
Click to open or download audio report.

Researchers with UC Davis have found surprising results in their study on soil emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Agriculture is the primary source of nitrous oxide around the world. Nitrous oxide is naturally present in the atmosphere, but is increased through some agricultural processes.

Before this study, scientists thought that a higher oxygen level in the soil would lead to a higher nitrous oxide levels. However, this study found solid evidence that the opposite is true: Soils with more limited oxygen ended up leading to higher nitrous oxide emissions.

The study authors say their results suggest that to reduce these greenhouse gasses, fertilizers with urea should not be used in soils with limited oxygen.

According to the EPA, agriculture accounts for over 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions in the US, with transportation and industry providing the rest.

For more on the study, click here.