Farming Futures – March 2010




  Are we farming in the right way?

                               Jim Orson




© Copyri...
Farming Futures – March 2010




 UK competitiveness based on technology
                      Average wheat yields (t/ha)...
Farming Futures – March 2010




                     Agriculture & Nitrogen:
                   what goes in must come ou...
Farming Futures – March 2010




           Crop yields and nitrate leached from Broadbalk
                        (1st wh...
Farming Futures – March 2010




     Organic – less energy, more nutrient polluting
      and land hungry and similar glo...
Farming Futures – March 2010




  UK greenhouse gas emissions
Agriculture contributes:
• 7% of the UK’s greenhouse gas em...
Farming Futures – March 2010




   N fertiliser – 50% of the energy for wheat
    production but 80% of GHG emissions
   ...
Farming Futures – March 2010




              Energy and GHG – form of N
                                Energy         G...
Farming Futures – March 2010




Is it possible to increase the sustainability of arable and ruminant agriculture by reduc...
Farming Futures – March 2010




      GHG emissions/tonne of winter oilseed rape production
      (treated with fungicide...
Farming Futures – March 2010




             Current farming systems
• Nitrogen is a key issue in terms of yield,
  energ...
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Agriculture & Farming: Are we farming the right way? - Jim Orson (NIAB TAG)

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This presentation formed part of the Farming Futures workshop 'Cropping Climate Change: Making business sense of nitrous oxide and the nitorgen cycle'

March 5th 2010

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Agriculture & Farming: Are we farming the right way? - Jim Orson (NIAB TAG)

  1. 1. Farming Futures – March 2010 Are we farming in the right way? Jim Orson © Copyright text
  2. 2. Farming Futures – March 2010 UK competitiveness based on technology Average wheat yields (t/ha) t/ha Effective 9 Effective fungicides 8 7 herbicides 6 5 4 Increase in N 3 2 1 Semi-dwarf varieties 0 68 73 78 83 88 93 98 03 08 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 © Copyright text USA UK
  3. 3. Farming Futures – March 2010 Agriculture & Nitrogen: what goes in must come out Air NH3 N2O NOx N2 N INPUTS N OUTPUTS e.g. manure, e.g. crops, fertiliser, etc. milk, meat, etc NO3- NH4+ NO2- DON © Copyright text Soil and Water
  4. 4. Farming Futures – March 2010 Crop yields and nitrate leached from Broadbalk (1st wheat; Hereward) N leached (kg/ha) Yield (t/ha) 90 10 80 9 70 8 60 7 Economic 6 50 optimum 5 40 4 30 3 20 2 10 1 0 0 0 48 96 144 192 240 288 - 250 346 as fertiliser as manure © Copyright text N applied (kg/ha/yr)
  5. 5. Farming Futures – March 2010 Organic – less energy, more nutrient polluting and land hungry and similar global warming potential per tonne Conv. Org. Conv. Org. feed bread bread feed wheat wheat wheat wheat Impacts & resources used Primary energy used, GJ 2.46 1.74 2.24 1.72 Global warming pot'l 0.70 0.78 0.63 0.68 Eutrophication pot'l 3.11 9.26 2.97 8.31 N losses, kg/t NO3—N 4.4 18.3 4.3 16.4 From Defra Project report IS0205 by Williams and Audsley, Cranfield University © Copyright text
  6. 6. Farming Futures – March 2010 UK greenhouse gas emissions Agriculture contributes: • 7% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions • 67% of nitrous oxide emissions • 39% of methane emissions • 1% of carbon dioxide emissions • Nitrous oxide (N2O) is 296 times as powerful a GHG than CO2 • Methane(CH4) is 23 times as powerful a GHG than CO2 © Copyright text
  7. 7. Farming Futures – March 2010 N fertiliser – 50% of the energy for wheat production but 80% of GHG emissions Energy inputs GHG emissions GJ/ha (% of total chain) Kg C02eq/ha (% of total chain) Diesel 4.7 (29%) 356.6 (11%) N fertiliser 7.5 (46%) 2,528.6 (81%) P fertiliser 0.7 (4%) 29.1 (1%) K fertiliser 0.4 (2%) 21.0 (1%) Pesticides 0.6 (4%) 10.8 (0.5%) Seeds 2.5 (15%) 160.4 (5%) Total 16.4 3,106 Source: Rickeard et al., 2004 © Copyright text
  8. 8. Farming Futures – March 2010 Energy and GHG – form of N Energy GHG MJ/kgN @ CO2eq/kgN Plant gate Production and use Urea 44.1-51.6 10.5-10.9 AN 30.2-40.6 8.4-11.8 CAN 31.4-42.6 7.6-11.1 UAN 38.2-47.6 10.6-12.5 © Copyright text Brentrup & Palliere, 2008
  9. 9. Farming Futures – March 2010 Is it possible to increase the sustainability of arable and ruminant agriculture by reducing inputs? M.J. Glendining, A.G. Dailey, A.G. Williams, F.K. van Evert, K.W.T. Goulding, A.P. Whitmore. Agricultural Systems 99 (2009) 117–125 Breakdown of the environmental costs/tonne wheat (a), OSR (b) according to N dose (kg/ha). Loss of ecosystem services resulting from Copyright text © conversion of forest to agricultural use is fully costed
  10. 10. Farming Futures – March 2010 GHG emissions/tonne of winter oilseed rape production (treated with fungicides to control diseases or untreated) Mahmuti et al. Int. J. Ag Sustainability 7(3) 2009 1200 Treated Untreated -1 1000 kg CO 2 eq. t 800 600 2005 2006 2007 2005 2006 2007 Rothamsted ADAS © Copyright text ADAS sites were Teversham (2005) and Boxworth (2006-2007)
  11. 11. Farming Futures – March 2010 Current farming systems • Nitrogen is a key issue in terms of yield, energy use and environmental impact • Whilst there is growing evidence that around current doses can be justified on environmental grounds there is a need to reduce, if possible, nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide production © Copyright text

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