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Soil, land care and environmental research
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The effectiveness of nitrification inhibitor application on grain yield and quality, fertiliser nitrogen recovery and soil nitrous oxide emissions in a legume–wheat rotation under elevated carbon dioxide (FACE)

Humaira Sultana A D , Helen C. Suter A , Roger Armstrong B C , Marc E. Nicolas A and Deli Chen A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Government of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

C Department of Agricultural Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: sultana.humaira@gmail.com

Soil Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/SR16371
Submitted: 30 December 2016  Accepted: 31 July 2017   Published online: 13 October 2017

Abstract

Managing nitrogen (N) supply to better match crop demand and reduce losses will be an important goal under future predicted elevated carbon dioxide (e[CO2]) conditions. This study comprised two Free-Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiments conducted in southern Australia in 2011. The first experiment (Exp-1) was a field experiment that investigated the impact of a nitrification inhibitor (NI), 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP), and supplementary irrigation on utilisation of legume (field pea) residual N by a wheat crop and soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The second experiment (Exp-2) used 15N techniques in soil cores to investigate the impact of DMPP on recovery of fertiliser N.

In Exp-1, grain N concentration increased (by 12%, P < 0.001) with NI application compared with no NI application, irrespective of CO2 concentration ([CO2]) and supplementary irrigation. With NI application the grain N harvest index increased under e[CO2] (82%) compared with a[CO2] (79%). Applying the NI compensated for decreased grain copper concentration observed under e[CO2] conditions. NI had minimal effect on soil N2O emissions in the wheat crop regardless of [CO2]. In Exp-2, 65% (±1 standard error, n = 15) of the applied N fertiliser was recovered in the aboveground plant, irrespective of NI use.

The use of a NI in a cereal–legume rotation may help to increase grain N concentration, increase the mobilisation of N towards the grain under e[CO2], and may also help to compensate for decreases in grain copper concentration under e[CO2]. However, use of a NI may not provide additional benefit for productivity or efficiency of N utilisation.

Additional keywords: alkaline soil, ammonium, dimethylpyrazole phosphate, irrigation, 15N-labelled, nitrate, urea.


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