Research indicates that nitrous oxide emissions from sugarcane soils can be higher than that associated with many other cropping systems.WORLD-class research conducted in Mackay is investigating which strategies will help sugarcane growers reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Results are indicating that growing soybeans during the fallow period may decrease the greenhouse footprint and reduce fertiliser costs.
Nitrous oxide is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide, thus posing a bigger threat to the agricultural industry because of its global warming potential.
Julie Gaglia from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said the Nitrous Oxide Research Program (NORP) was part of the Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Program – a significant research effort to provide practical solutions for agriculture to adapt and respond to a changing climate.
“The results of the NORP provide land managers with information they can use to build more resilience in their enterprises,” she said.
The research is a collaboration between DAFF, the Grains Research and Development Corporation , the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, and BSES Limited.
Dr Weijin Wang, from DSITIA, said research indicates that nitrous oxide emissions from sugarcane soils can be higher than that associated with many other cropping systems.
Dr Wang said this may be because of climatic and environmental conditions in sugarcane-growing regions.
“Trials at Mackay indicate that nitrous oxide losses are higher when the soil is wet,” he said.
“When water is added, whether it is in the form of irrigation or just higher rainfall, air and oxygen in the soil pores are displaced.
“When the microbes are starved of oxygen, they start attacking the nitrogen, which leads to a faster rate of breakdown and an increased potential for gaseous losses.”
Dr Wang said that part of the trial is investigating the impact that crops such as soybeans can have on nitrous oxide losses.
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