Sep 19, 2017
Canadian researchers try to reduce nitrogen loss and greenhouse gas emissions

A team at the University of Alberta is looking at ways to reduce nitrogen fertilizer loss to boost yields and reduce contributions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, has been testing different nitrogen fertilizer formulations and biostimulants to gauge their effect on productivity and nitrous oxide emissions.

He reviewed his work at recent field day at the Crop Diversification Centre in Brooks, Alberta.

According to the Western Producer:

“Ramirez has plots of Russet Burbank potatoes subjected to 11 different fertilizers, biostimulant and inhibitor combinations and amounts at both Brooks and Lethbridge.

The biostimulant, a product called HYT-A, has been tested on potatoes and other high-value crops in Europe, but research there is also in the early stages.

“This is the first time that we are testing this in North America,” said Ramirez.

In all plots, 65 percent of the nitrogen was applied pre-planting and the balance at hilling.

Chambers were installed in the hills and valleys of each plot so nitrous oxide emissions could be measured weekly. Soil samples are designed to show the nitrogen levels in soil after application and measure the uptake by the crop.

At harvest, nitrogen will be measured in the potato canopy and in the tubers. Crop productivity and grading will also be recorded.

Ramirez said that if certain combinations of fertilizer, biostimulants or inhibitors prove to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from the soil, it could affect market access for Canadian potatoes in the future and prove the crop’s sustainability from an environmental perspective.”

For more on the story, visit Western Producer.

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