Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from horticultural crops

Over use of nitrogen and lack of regulation in many agricultural crop production regions globally is causing major environment damage and subsequent problems to human health. Globally, benchmark studies have shown alarming levels of emissions of nitrous oxide from some high value horticultural systems where high inputs of inorganic and organic nitrogen are used.

For instance in Australia growers in temperate climates apply up to 1 tonne of nitrogen per hectare to soil annually yet it is estimated that crops use only 40% and over 60% is lost to the environment. Technologies exist to reduce losses of nitrogen by 60%, however in spite of these being available there are no drivers to improve nitrogen use efficiency and avoid nitrogen pollution. Consequently, new policy options for limiting nitrogen pollution need to be explored, including amending the Montreal Protocol – the international ozone agreement – to regulate nitrous oxide.