ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 106, No. 4 (2019), p. 297–306
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2019.106.038

Effect of biochar on N2O emission, crop yield and properties of Stagnic Luvisol in a field experiment

Elena Y. RIZHIYA, Irina M. MUKHINA, Eugene V. BALASHOV, Vladimír ŠIMANSKY,


Soils are one of the main sources of nitrous oxide (N2O) in agriculture. Soil management practices can significantly affect N2O emissions through changing soil physical, chemical and biochemical properties. Application of biochar to arable soils can be an option for N2O emission mitigation, but the effect of biochar can be different for soils with different fertility levels. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of biochar application on N2O emission, soil properties and barley yield from loamy sand Stagnic Luvisol with high and medium levels of fertility caused by high rates of farmyard manure and fertilizer application for 10 years. A small-scale field experiment was conducted during the growing season of 2012 in North-Western Russia. Four treatments were used in the experiment: 1) control (no biochar, no N-fertilizer), 2) biochar (12 t ha-1), 3) N-fertilizer (90 kg ha-1 N) and 4) biochar (12 t ha-1) + N-fertilizer (90 kg ha-1 N), in five replicates. Significant changes in water-holding capacity and the amount of available nitrogen (N) occurred in the soil with high fertility, and thus it emitted significantly more N2O for the growing season than the soil with medium fertility. Biochar application effect on N2O emissions depended on the soil management history and was reducing the emission from the soil with high fertility rich in mineral N and C but not from the soil with medium fertility if no nitrogen fertilizer was applied to the latter soil. The yield-scaled N2O emission was the highest from the control treatments for the soil with both fertility levels, and the soil with high fertility was always characterized by higher yield-scaled N2O emissions than the soil with medium fertility. Application of biochar reduced yield-scaled N2O emission from the soil with medium and high fertility levels showing that biochar application to the soil can improve N use by the plants.

Key words: biochar, N2O emissions, small-scale experiment, soil fertility, soil properties, yield-scaled emissions.

Full text: 106_4_str38.pdf