EFFECT OF NITROGEN FERTILIZER ON NITROUS OXIDE EMISSIONS FROM THE SOIL FOR TWO POTENTIAL ENERGY CROPS AND THE RELATIVE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
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The benefits from energy crops are debated. This two-year study was designed to investigate nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, yield and ash content from fertilized bioenergy crops switchgrass and reed canary grass with and without inter-seeded red clover. Overall, N2O emissions were less than 1kg N2O-N ha-1 in the first year and around 100g N2O-N ha-1 in the second year with a N fertilizer effect in the first year. Plots inter-seeded with red clover received half the N fertilizer of pure grass stands but showed no difference in N2O emissions compared to the pure stands and also had higher ash content. Cumulative soil mineral N responded to N fertilizer addition but no effect of crop type was evident in 2008 and 2009. Yields for both crops were unresponsive to N fertilizer addition while pure switchgrass yielded higher than inter-seeded switchgrass in 2008 and switchgrass had lower ash content.