The other greenhouse gas, how farming impacts nitrous oxide levels

Jun 17, 2014

A new MSU study shows that using more precise measurements in fertilizer could help slow global warming.
Credit Flickr - Ken Hawkins

Most people are aware of the “sexy” greenhouse gas CO-2. Fewer know of its co-culprit nitrous oxide. The third-largest greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide is released in soil during a natural process. However, the increased use of nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture has resulted in a rise of nitrous oxide emissions.

A new MSU study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences focuses on how using more precise application of nitrogen fertilizer can maintain farmers yields, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Current State speaks with Neville Millar, a senior research associate at Michigan State University and a contributor to the study.

This segment is supported by Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. More news about the Great Lakes environment can be found at and on Current State every Tuesday as part of our partnership.