Farming the planet with better nitrogen use

G - Articles in popular magazines and other technical publications

Liu, P., Xu, H., Liu, S., Ding, J., Lu, X., Zhong, B., Guo, Y., Lu, X., Zhao, Y., Zhang, X., Wang, S., Liu, X., Xu, W., Si, R., Goulding, K. W. T. and Liu, L. 2023. Farming the planet with better nitrogen use. Research Square. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2972121/v1

AuthorsLiu, P., Xu, H., Liu, S., Ding, J., Lu, X., Zhong, B., Guo, Y., Lu, X., Zhao, Y., Zhang, X., Wang, S., Liu, X., Xu, W., Si, R., Goulding, K. W. T. and Liu, L.
Abstract

Feeding an increasingly affluent population is a huge challenge facing global agriculture. In contrast to “large-scale farming” in developed economies (e.g. Europe and the United States), developing countries are dominated by “smallholder farms” relying on traditional farming practices but increasingly with substantial nitrogen overuse leading to severe environmental degradation and adverse human health. Here, we explore the potential for better nitrogen use by synthesizing the global relationship between farm size and nitrogen use for 16 major crops, assess the impact of farm size on nitrogen flows, and link these with air quality modelling to produce an integrated assessment of nitrogen-related environmental and health outcomes related to farm size. We find that increasing farm size in developing countries can contribute to more efficient and sustainable farming practices, which could decrease nitrogen overuse,
ammonia emissions and nitrogen deposition by 20-25%, increase nitrogen use efficiency by 2-8%, and save over 142,000 premature deaths per year related to PM2.5 air pollution. Although a large one-time investment is required for increasing farm size, there would be substantial progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, associated with food security, a clean environment and improved human health.

KeywordsNitrogen use efficiency; Air pollution; Farming
Year of Publication2023
JournalResearch Square
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2972121/v1
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2972121/v1
FunderBBSRC Newton funding
Funder project or codeUK - China Virtual Joint Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy (CINAG)
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
File
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Output statusSubmitted
Publication dates
Online24 May 2023

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/98y33/farming-the-planet-with-better-nitrogen-use

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