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8 May 2017 Can management practices provide greenhouse gas abatement in grain farms in New South Wales, Australia?
Jeda Palmer, Peter J. Thorburn, Elizabeth A. Meier, Jody S. Biggs, Brett Whelan, Kanika Singh, David N. Eyre
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Abstract

Greenhouse gas abatement in the agricultural cropping industry can be achieved by employing management practices that sequester soil carbon (C) or minimise nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from soils. However, C sequestration stimulates N2O emissions, making the net greenhouse-gas abatement potential of management practices difficult to predict. We studied land-management practices that have potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by increasing soil C storage and/or decreasing soil N2O emissions for a diverse range of broadacre grain cropping sites in New South Wales. Carbon sequestration and N2O emissions were simulated with the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) for a baseline crop-management scenario and alternative scenarios representing management practices for greenhouse gas abatement, for 15 rainfed or irrigated sites. The global warming potential of the scenarios was quantified at 25 and 100 years after commencement of the alternative practices. Soil C and N2O emissions were predicted to increase with the use of practices that increased organic matter additions to the soil (e.g. adding a summer crop to the rotation). However, in only a few cases did the increase in soil C storage counter the N2O emissions sufficiently to provide net greenhouse gas abatement. For rainfed sites, inclusion of a summer crop and/or a pasture in the rotation was predicted to provide greenhouse gas abatement after 25 years, whereas after 100 years, only practices that included a summer crop provided abatement for some sites. For irrigated sites after 25 years, practices that reduced N fertiliser rate while retaining stubble were predicted to provide small abatement, and practices that included a summer crop provided abatement for some sites. After 100 years, practices likely to provide abatement included those that reduced N2O emissions, such as reducing N fertiliser rate. These findings suggest that a few management practices are likely to abate greenhouse gas emissions across New South Wales grain production sites and that these practices differ for irrigated and rainfed sites.

© CSIRO 2017
Jeda Palmer, Peter J. Thorburn, Elizabeth A. Meier, Jody S. Biggs, Brett Whelan, Kanika Singh, and David N. Eyre "Can management practices provide greenhouse gas abatement in grain farms in New South Wales, Australia?," Crop and Pasture Science 68(4), 390-400, (8 May 2017). https://doi.org/10.1071/CP17026
Received: 18 January 2017; Accepted: 1 March 2017; Published: 8 May 2017
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KEYWORDS
carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e
global warming potential
soil organic carbon
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