Ag Solutions for Climate-Nitrogen Management in a Hot, Unpredictable World

Article ID: 594943

Released: 16-Oct-2012 1:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Woods Hole Research Center

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Soil Science Society session looks at how agriculture can adapt & protect water, climate

Newswise — CINCINNATI, OHIO-- After this summer’s crippling drought killed crops and weakened livestock, new attention is being paid to agriculture and climate – both in developing ways farmers can cope with more unpredictable weather, and practices to reduce the release of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide that worsen climate change.

On October 23 at 1pm, top USDA and academic researchers will address those issues in a special session of the Soil Science Society of America’s annual meeting. And they’ll take on a third, largely new aspect of climate change and agriculture: how nitrogen pollution compounds climate change, and vice versa. The work draws from a new special report to the United States’ National Climate Assessment published in the journal Biogeochemistry.

The report notes that climate change and nitrogen pollution will reduce agricultural productivity as higher ozone levels decrease crop yields. Floods, drought and heat will also make it harder to match crop needs with the right amount of fertilizer. Unwanted fertilizer in the air, water and atmosphere will also pollute drinking water, worsen the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, and create further releases of ozone and nitrous oxide.

“The climate is making farming even more unpredictable, but solutions exist,” said soil scientist Eric Davidson, President of The Woods Hole Research Center. “By increasing fertilizer efficiency alone, farmers can increase their own productivity, protect water quality and reduce greenhouse gas releases.”

USDA and university researchers will share new findings on how climate change and nitrogen pollution interact in agriculture, such as how heat will increase livestock ammonia emissions. They’ll also review options for reducing emissions, from ways livestock housing can cut dairy barn ammonia emissions in half to applying nitrogen fertilizer at the right rate, time, and place.

When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012: 1:00 PM-3:35pm EDT Where: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 233, Level 2, Cincinnati, Ohio

Speakers include: G. Philip Robertson, W. K Kellogg Biological Station & Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences Craig Yendrek, USDA-ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Thomas Bruulsema, International Plant Nutrition Institute

Ronald Gehl, North Carolina State University

C. A. Rotz, USDA-ARS, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit Presiders are Charles Rice, Kansas State University, Dept. of Soil Microbiology and Eric Davidson, President, The Woods Hole Research Center

Session abstracts:

The National Climate Assessment Report summary and papers can be viewed starting Oct. 18 at


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