Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Response of N2O emission to manure application in field trials of agricultural soils across the globe


The response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emission to manure application has been widely reported for laboratory experiments. However, the in-situ effects of manure application on soil N2O emission from field trials (i.e. real-world conditions) and related mechanisms are poorly understood at the global scale. Here, we performed a meta-analysis using 262 field observations from 44 publications to assess the in-situ effects of manure application on soil N2O emission and factors regulating N2O emission (e.g., agricultural practices, manure characteristics and initial soil properties). Our analysis found that manure application significantly increased soil N2O emission in field trials. The largest N2O emissions were observed in soils from warm temperate climates, planted with upland non-leguminous crops and using raw manure. Notably, water-filled pore space (WFPS) significantly affected N2O emission; soils with 50-90% WFPS had the highest N2O emissions. Initial soil properties (e.g. pH, texture and organic carbon (C)) were generally not significant for predicting N2O emission, possibly due to changes in soil properties induced by manure additions. Manures with carbon: nitrogen ratios (C:N) of 10-15 and C contents of 100-300 g C kg-1 produced the lowest N2O emission. The net N2O emission factor (1.13%) resulting from manure application was similar to additions of synthetic N fertilizer (1.25%) and crop residues (1.06%), suggesting that manure application resulted in a similar N2O emission to other soil amendments. Our analysis provides a scientific basis for manure management options to minimize N2O emissions from animal waste disposal on agricultural lands globally.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View