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Nitrous Oxide Evaporation Costs You Money

Nitrous Oxide Evaporation Costs You Money

By Andrew Joseph,

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is more deadly to humans and to the ozone layer than carbon monoxide, but farmers are allowing the GHG to escape into the air while also depriving their plants of the valuable nutrients.

Morley J. Wallace, president and chief executive officer with GPS Ontario recently spoke at the 2021 Great Ontario Farm Yield event—’s sixth annual show—to introduce the new industry buzzword term of “nitrous oxide evaporation” and how farmers can minimize their environmental impact while providing proper plant nutrition.

Located in North Gower, Ontario, GPS Ontario has, since 2000, been a pioneer within the precision agriculture industry providing complete farm systems for small to medium operations helping test, develop and improve precision ag solutions across North America. 

At the event, Wallace provided the audience with an outline of his company’s improved nitrogen fertilization program, a blending process dubbed “Morley’s Fertile Stripping Program.”

He discussed the concept of N2O evaporation in soil whereby the nitrogen in a fertilization program is released from the soil into the air allowing GHG emissions to occur, rather than being utilized by a plant’s root system for growth. 

Wallace noted a current study produced by his company, GPS Ontario, and the University of Ottawa. Using a baseline of previously unworked land without a nitrogen fertilizer applied, there was no N2O evaporation. 

An application of a basic fertilizer to a different strip of land showed that N2O evaporation became evident after an initial dormant period before the fertilizer eventually broke down to release the nutrients. 

“A huge amount of Nitrogen was going into the air. If it’s going into the air, it’s not going into the soil,” explained Wallace adding that they used a conventional strip till fertilized off to the side. “If it’s not going into the soil, it’s not going into your plant.”

In the third portion of the study, a strip of land was used where fertilizer was placed in a trench and buried. The study noted that it took longer for the nitrogen to breakdown, but when it did, it became very volatile—about the same for field study #2. 

In the fourth and final aspect of the testing, Wallace’s appropriately named “Morley’s Fertile Stripping Program” was applied. There was, according to Wallace, very little N2O evaporation in the air from the process, implying that the nitrogen fertilizer went into the ground and stayed there. 

“That soil will pick up the nutrients as soon as the fertilizer dissolves to be captured and converted for the plant to use,” extolled Wallace. 

Not only did Wallace’s nitrogen fertilization program show a more rapid plant growth, but it allowed the plant to work more efficiently. 

To learn more about the effects of N2O evaporation and how a best-in-class fertilization program can help avoid it, watch the video below. 

For more information, visit the GPS Ontario website:  

Image:, The Global Carbon Project: A 2020 comprehensive quantification of global nitrous oxide sources and sinks by the Global Carbon Project.

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