Nitrogen Surplus Benchmarks for Controlling N Pollution in the Main Cropping Systems of China

Chong Zhang, Xiaotang Ju (Corresponding Author), David Powlson, Oene Oenema, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) surplus is a useful indicator for improving agricultural N management and controlling N pollution. Few studies have developed benchmark values for cropping systems in China, a country with the largest N fertilizer use in the world. We established N surplus benchmarks for 13 main cropping systems, at optimal N management, using results from >4500 on-farm field experiments and a soil surface balance approach. These cropping systems accounted for about 50% of total N fertilizer consumption in Chinese agriculture in 2009. The results showed that N surplus benchmarks for single cropping systems ranged from 40 to 100 kg N ha-1 yr-1 (average 73 kg N ha-1 yr-1), and for double cropping systems from 110 to 190 kg N ha-1 yr-1 (average 160 kg N ha-1 yr-1), roughly twice that of single cropping systems. These N surplus benchmarks may be further refined, following further decreases in N deposition rates and reactive N losses as a result of strict implementation of "4R-nutrient stewardship" and improvements in fertilization techniques and agronomic managements. Our N surplus benchmarks could serve as realistic targets to improve the N management of current conventional practices, and thereby could lay the foundations for a more sustainable N management in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6678-6687
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume53
Issue number12
Early online date24 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019

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cropping practice
Pollution
Nitrogen
pollution
nitrogen
Fertilizers
fertilizer
double cropping
Deposition rates
Agriculture
Farms
Nutrients
soil surface
surplus
farm
agriculture
Soils
nutrient
Experiments

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Nitrogen Surplus Benchmarks for Controlling N Pollution in the Main Cropping Systems of China. / Zhang, Chong; Ju, Xiaotang (Corresponding Author); Powlson, David; Oenema, Oene; Smith, Pete.

In: Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 53, No. 12, 18.06.2019, p. 6678-6687.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhang, Chong ; Ju, Xiaotang ; Powlson, David ; Oenema, Oene ; Smith, Pete. / Nitrogen Surplus Benchmarks for Controlling N Pollution in the Main Cropping Systems of China. In: Environmental Science & Technology. 2019 ; Vol. 53, No. 12. pp. 6678-6687.
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N1 - This study was financially supported by National Key Research and Development Project of China (2017YFD0200105), China−UK PhD Placement Programme funded by CSC (201603780082), and contributes to “N-Circle” and “CINAg” projects funded by the Newton Fund via UK BBSRC/NERC (grants BB/N013484/1 and BB/N013468/1, respectively).

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