Farm scale nitrous oxide measurement

The University of Waikato research for new document, Wednesday 25 June 2008, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Stephen Barker, Barker Photography, ©The University of Waikato

With funding from the University of Waikato and the NZAGRC we are going to measure paddock scale emissions of nitrous oxide from a dairy farm. We will be using the most recent detectors available coupled to eddy covariance measurements of carbon dioxide and water exchange. This is a technically very challenging project but could offer large rewards.

Our long-term goal is to test different farming practices that maintain or enhance profitability while decreasing net greenhouse gas emissions (nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide). We need to make these measurements at farm and annual scales so that we can identify trade-offs and co-benefits.

We have several questions to answer:

  1. How can we continuously measure nitrous oxide emissions at paddock scale?
  2. What are the temporal dynamics of nitrous oxide fluxes and do these fluxes match with previous chamber based measurements and estimated emission factors?
  3. Can we develop simple paired-treatment approaches that allow us to compare different farm management practices?

We will continue building collaborative links with AgResearch who have long-term expertise in chamber measurements of nitrous oxide emissions