Simplifying the nitrous oxide emissions equation

When it comes to nitrous oxide emissions, there are many complex formulas that can be used to determine what is going on in the fields.

Abby Sim, field technician at Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, says this is precisely why the Smart Farm at the college decided to look at estimating nitrous oxide emissions. The method of choice they used was the N Balance method, which is one of the more simple — but effective — ways to measure.

“It’s just your inputs and your outputs in terms of nitrogen,” she explains. “There’s a lot of pressure on farmers right now regarding their fertilizer use, due to the emission reduction targets set by the government of Canada.”

Through the year-long research term, Sim and her crew found that by following the Environment Defense guide, they were able to come up with a target N balance between 25 to 75 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

“You want to make sure that you’re maintaining that soil health, but you’re not losing too much nitrogen through emissions and nitrate leaching,” she notes.

Check out the full conversation between Sim and RealAgriculutre’s Kara Oosterhuis, filmed at AgSmart at Olds, Alta:

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