Quantification of NOx and NH3 emissions from two sugarcane fields

Bennett C.T. MacDonald*, O. Tom Denmead, Ian White

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports emissions of NOx and NH3 from a rain-fed, fertilised, residue-blanketed sugarcane field at Mackay, Queensland. Emissions were measured using a micrometeorological flux-gradient technique for the whole of the 2006-07 season and for the first 2 months of the 2007-08 season. Nitrogen (N) fertiliser was applied as urea at a rate of 150kg N ha-1 into slits 100-150mm deep. Previous work at the site found that N2O emissions accounted for ∼5kg N ha-1, or 3% of the applied N in the 2006-07 season. In the present study, NOx and NH3 were emitted in both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons and accounted for ∼1.5kg N ha-1, or ∼1% of applied N. The main driver of NOx emissions appeared to be the availability of a soil mineral N source. However, the maximum N2O and NOx fluxes were offset by nearly 20 days, which indicated different emission pathways. After the soil mineral N was exhausted, the emissions of NOx were reduced. Emissions of NH3 continued at around the same rate for the whole of the growing season. Water-filled pore space, which was a main driver of N2O emissions, did not seem to influence the measured emissions of NOx or NH3.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)833-840
    Number of pages8
    JournalSoil Research
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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