Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 13
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Rivera-Ferre, M.G. López-i-Gelats, F. Howden, M. Smith, P. Morton, J.F. and Herrero, M. 2016. Re-framing the climate change debate in the livestock sector: mitigation and adaptation options. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change,

    Buckthought, LE Clough, TJ Cameron, KC Di, HJ and Shepherd, MA 2015. Fertiliser and seasonal urine effects on N2O emissions from the urine-fertiliser interface of a grazed pasture. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 58, Issue. 3, p. 311.

    Li, J Luo, J Shi, Y Houlbrooke, D Wang, L Lindsey, S and Li, Y 2015. Nitrogen gaseous emissions from farm effluent application to pastures and mitigation measures to reduce the emissions: a review. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 58, Issue. 3, p. 339.

    Li, J. Luo, J. Shi, Y. Lindsey, S. Houlbrooke, D. Ledgard, S. and Goss, Michael 2015. Nitrous oxide emissions from dairy farm effluent applied to a New Zealand pasture soil. Soil Use and Management, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 279.

    Luo, J. Sun, X. Z. Pacheco, D. Ledgard, S. F. Lindsey, S. B. Hoogendoorn, C. J. Wise, B. and Watkins, N. L. 2015. Nitrous oxide emission factors for urine and dung from sheep fed either fresh forage rape (Brassica napus L.) or fresh perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). animal, Vol. 9, Issue. 03, p. 534.

    Orlandi, T. Kozloski, G.V. Alves, T.P. Mesquita, F.R. and Ávila, S.C. 2015. Digestibility, ruminal fermentation and duodenal flux of amino acids in steers fed grass forage plus concentrate containing increasing levels of Acacia mearnsii tannin extract. Animal Feed Science and Technology, Vol. 210, p. 37.

    Suter, Matthias Connolly, John Finn, John A. Loges, Ralf Kirwan, Laura Sebastià, Maria-Teresa and Lüscher, Andreas 2015. Nitrogen yield advantage from grass-legume mixtures is robust over a wide range of legume proportions and environmental conditions. Global Change Biology, Vol. 21, Issue. 6, p. 2424.

    Doreau, M. Ferlay, A. Rochette, Y. and Martin, C. 2014. Effects of dehydrated lucerne and soya bean meal on milk production and composition, nutrient digestion, and methane and nitrogen losses in dairy cows receiving two different forages. animal, Vol. 8, Issue. 03, p. 420.

    Li, J. Shi, Y. Luo, J. Zaman, M. Houlbrooke, D. Ding, W. Ledgard, S. and Ghani, A. 2014. Use of nitrogen process inhibitors for reducing gaseous nitrogen losses from land-applied farm effluents. Biology and Fertility of Soils, Vol. 50, Issue. 1, p. 133.

    Pirlo, G. Carè, S. Fantin, V. Falconi, F. Buttol, P. Terzano, G.M. Masoni, P. and Pacelli, C. 2014. Factors affecting life cycle assessment of milk produced on 6 Mediterranean buffalo farms. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 97, Issue. 10, p. 6583.

    Clough, T. J. Müller, C. and Laughlin, R. J. 2013. Using stable isotopes to follow excreta N dynamics and N2O emissions in animal production systems. animal, Vol. 7, Issue. s2, p. 418.

    Gerber, P. J. Hristov, A. N. Henderson, B. Makkar, H. Oh, J. Lee, C. Meinen, R. Montes, F. Ott, T. Firkins, J. Rotz, A. Dell, C. Adesogan, A. T. Yang, W. Z. Tricarico, J. M. Kebreab, E. Waghorn, G. Dijkstra, J. and Oosting, S. 2013. Technical options for the mitigation of direct methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock: a review. animal, Vol. 7, Issue. s2, p. 220.

    Scollan, Nigel 2013. Editorial: Eighth International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores (ISNH8) in Aberystwyth, Wales, in 2011. animal, Vol. 7, Issue. s1, p. 1.


Strategies to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from herbivore production systems

  • R. L. M. Schils (a1), J. Eriksen (a2), S. F. Ledgard (a3), Th. V. Vellinga (a4), P. J. Kuikman (a1), J. Luo (a3), S. O. Petersen (a2) and G. L. Velthof (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 October 2011

Herbivores are a significant source of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. They account for a large share of manure-related N2O emissions, as well as soil-related N2O emissions through the use of grazing land, and land for feed and forage production. It is widely acknowledged that mitigation measures are necessary to avoid an increase in N2O emissions while meeting the growing global food demand. The production and emissions of N2O are closely linked to the efficiency of nitrogen (N) transfer between the major components of a livestock system, that is, animal, manure, soil and crop. Therefore, mitigation options in this paper have been structured along these N pathways. Mitigation technologies involving diet-based intervention include lowering the CP content or increasing the condensed tannin content of the diet. Animal-related mitigation options also include breeding for improved N conversion and high animal productivity. The main soil-based mitigation measures include efficient use of fertilizer and manure, including the use of nitrification inhibitors. In pasture-based systems with animal housing facilities, reducing grazing time is an effective option to reduce N2O losses. Crop-based options comprise breeding efforts for increased N-use efficiency and the use of pastures with N2-fixing clover. It is important to recognize that all N2O mitigation options affect the N and carbon cycles of livestock systems. Therefore, care should be taken that reductions in N2O emissions are not offset by unwanted increases in ammonia, methane or carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the abundant availability of mitigation options, implementation in practice is still lagging. Actual implementation will only follow after increased awareness among farmers and greenhouse gases targeted policies. So far, reductions in N2O emissions that have been achieved are mostly a positive side effect of other N-targeted policies.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Strategies to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from herbivore production systems
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Strategies to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from herbivore production systems
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Strategies to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from herbivore production systems
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B Amon , V Kryvoruchko , T Amon , S Zechmeister-Boltenstern 2006. Methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions during storage and after application of dairy cattle slurry and influence of slurry treatment. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 112, 153162.

EM Baggs 2008. A review of stable isotope techniques for N2O source partitioning in soils: recent progress, remaining challenges and future considerations. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 22, 16641672.

EJ Bateman , EM Baggs 2005. Contributions of nitrification and denitrification to N2O emissions from soils at different water-filled pore space. Biology and Fertility of Soils 41, 379388.

A Bollmann , R Conrad 1998. Influence of O2 availability on NO and N2O release by nitrification and denitrification in soils. Global Change Biology 4, 387396.

AF Bouwman , DS Lee , WAH Asman , FJ Dentener , KW Van Der Hoek , JGJ Olivier 1997. A global high-resolution emission inventory for ammonia. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11, 561587.

L Brown , SC Jarvis , D Headon 2001. A farm-scale basis for predicting nitrous oxide emissions from dairy farms. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 60, 149158.

JE Carulla , M Kreuzer , A Machmüller , HD Hess 2005. Supplementation of Acacia mearnsii tannins decreases methanogenesis and urinary nitrogen in forage-fed sheep. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 56, 961970.

DR Chadwick 2005. Emissions of ammonia, nitrous oxide and methane from cattle manure heaps: effect of compaction and covering. Atmospheric Environment 39, 787799.

H Clayton , IP McTaggart , J Parker , L Swan , KA Smith 1997. Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilised grassland: a 2-year study of the effects of N fertiliser form and environmental conditions. Biology and Fertility of Soils 25, 252260.

J Clemens , M Trimborn , P Weiland , B Amon 2006. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by anaerobic digestion of cattle slurry. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 112, 171177.

PJ Crutzen , AR Mosier , KA Smith , W Winiwarter 2008. N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 8, 389395.

RC Dalal , WJ Wang , GP Robertson , WJ Parton 2003. Nitrous oxide emission from Australian agricultural lands and mitigation options: a review. Australian Journal of Soil Research 41, 165195.

EA Davidson 2009. The contribution of manure and fertilizer nitrogen to atmospheric nitrous oxide since 1860. Nature Geoscience 2, 659662.

CAM De Klein , SF Ledgard 2005. Nitrous oxide emissions from New Zealand agriculture – key sources and mitigation strategies. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 72, 7785.

CAM De Klein , LC Smith , RM Monaghan 2006. Restricted autumn grazing to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from dairy pastures in Southland, New Zealand. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 112, 192199.

CAM De Klein , RR Sherlock , KC Cameron , TJ van der Weerden 2001. Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils in New Zealand – a review of current knowledge and directions for future research. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 31, 543574.

A Del Prado , P Merino , JM Estavillo , M Pinto , C Gonzalez-Murua 2006. N2O and NO emissions from different N sources and under a range of soil water contents. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 74, 229243.

HJ Di , KC Cameron 2006. Nitrous oxide emissions from two dairy pasture soils as affected by different rates of a fine particle suspension nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide. Biology and Fertility of Soils 42, 472480.

HJ Di , KC Cameron , RR Sherlock 2007. Comparison of the effectiveness of a nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide, in reducing nitrous oxide emissions in four different soils under different climatic and management conditions. Soil Use and Management 23, 19.

K Dittert , C Lampe , R Gasche , K Butterbach-Bahl , M Wachendorf , H Papen , B Sattelmacher , F Taube 2005. Short-term effects of single or combined application of mineral N fertilizer and cattle slurry on the fluxes of radiatively active trace gases from grassland soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 37, 16651674.

R Eckard , I Johnson , D Chapman 2006. Modelling nitrous oxide abatement strategies in intensive pasture systems. International Congress Series 1293, 7685.

RJ Eckard , C Grainger , CAM De Klein 2010. Options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from ruminant production: a review. Livestock Science 130, 4756.

RJ Eckard , D Chen , RE White , DF Chapman 2003. Gaseous nitrogen loss from temperate perennial grass and clover dairy pastures in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 54, 561570.

J Eriksen , M Askegaard , K Søegaard 2008. Residual effect and nitrate leaching in grass–arable rotations: effect of grassland proportion, sward type and fertilizer history. Soil Use and Management 24, 373382.

IRP Fillery 2007. Plant-based manipulation of nitrification in soil: a new approach to managing N loss? Plant and Soil 294, 14.

H Flessa , F Beese 2000. Laboratory estimates of trace gas emissions following surface application and injection of cattle slurry. Journal of Environmental Quality 29, 262268.

HCJ Godfray , IR Crute , L Haddad , JF Muir , N Nisbett , D Lawrence , J Pretty , S Robinson , C Toulmin , R Whiteley 2010. The future of the global food system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365, 27692777.

JCJ Groot , WAH Rossing , EA Lantinga 2006. Evolution of farm management, nitrogen efficiency and economic performance on Dutch dairy farms reducing external inputs. Livestock Science 100, 99110.

RR Hansen , DA Nielsen , A Schramm , LP Nielsen , NP Revsbech , MN Hansen 2009. Greenhouse gas microbiology in wet and dry straw crust covering pig slurry. Journal of Environmental Quality 38, 13111319.

X Hao , C Chang , FJ Larney , GR Travis 2001. Greenhouse gas emissions during cattle feedlot manure composting. Journal of Environmental Quality 30, 376386.

CJ Hoogendoorn , CAM De Klein , AJ Rutherford , S Letica , BP Devantier 2008. The effect of increasing rates of nitrogen fertiliser and a nitrification inhibitor on nitrous oxide emissions from urine patches on sheep grazed hill country pasture. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 147151.

DM Kool , E Hoffland , EWJ Hummelink , JW van Groenigen 2006. Increased hippuric acid content of urine can reduce soil N2O fluxes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38, 10211027.

DM Kool , J Dolfing , N Wrage , JW Van Groenigen 2011. Nitrifier denitrification as a distinct and significant source of nitrous oxide from soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43, 174178.

DM Kool , N Wrage , S Zechmeister-Boltenstern , M Pfeffer , D Brus , O Oenema , JW Van Groenigen 2010. Nitrifier denitrification can be a source of N2O from soil: a revised approach to the dual-isotope labelling method. European Journal of Soil Science 61, 759772.

T Kristensen , L Mogensen , MT Knudsen , JE Hermansen 2011. Effect of production system and farming strategy on greenhouse gas emissions from commercial dairy farms in a life cycle approach. Livestock Sciences 140, 136148.

J Luo , RW Tillman , PR Ball 2000. Nitrogen loss through denitrification in a soil under pasture in New Zealand. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32, 497509.

J Luo , SF Ledgard , SB Lindsey 2008a. A test of a winter farm management option for mitigating nitrous oxide emissions from a dairy farm. Soil Use and Management 24, 121130.

J Luo , SF Ledgard , CAM De Klein , SB Lindsey , M Kear 2008b. Effects of dairy farming intensification on nitrous oxide emissions. Plant and Soil 309, 227237.

TH Misselbrook , JM Powell , GA Broderick , JH Grabber 2005. Dietary manipulation in dairy cattle: laboratory experiments to assess the influence on ammonia emissions. Journal of Dairy Science 88, 17651777.

GJ Monteny , A Bannink , D Chadwick 2006. Greenhouse gas abatement strategies for animal husbandry. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 112, 163170.

A Mosier , C Kroeze , C Nevison , O Oenema , S Seitzinger , O van Cleemput 1998. Closing the global N2O budget: nitrous oxide emissions through the agricultural nitrogen cycle – OECD/IPCC/IEA phase II development of IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventory methodology. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 52, 225248.

DA Nielsen , LP Nielsen , A Schramm , NP Revsbech 2010. Oxygen distribution and potential ammonia oxidation in floating, liquid manure crusts. Journal of Environmental Quality 39, 18131820.

O Oenema , G Velthof , P Kuikman 2001. Technical and policy aspects of strategies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 60, 301315.

O Oenema , N Wrage , GL Velthof , JW Van Groenigen , J Dolfing , PJ Kuikman 2005. Trends in global nitrous oxide emissions from animal production systems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 72, 5165.

SO Petersen , AM Lind , SG Sommer 1998. Nitrogen and organic matter losses during storage of cattle and pig manure. The Journal of Agricultural Science 130, 6979.

FA Phillips , R Leuning , R Baigent , KB Kelly , OT Denmead 2007. Nitrous oxide flux measurements from an intensively managed irrigated pasture using micrometeorological techniques. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 143, 92105.

R Reid , P Thornton , G McCrabb , R Kruska , F Atieno , P Jones 2004. Is it possible to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in pastoral ecosystems of the tropics? Environment, Development and Sustainability 6, 91109.

P Rochette , H Janzen 2005. Towards a revised coefficient for estimating N2O emissions from legumes. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 73, 171179.

JC Ryden 1983. Denitrification loss from a grassland soil in the field receiving different rates of nitrogen as ammonium-nitrate. Journal of Soil Science, 34 355365.

S Saggar , DL Giltrap , C Li , KR Tate 2007a. Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grasslands in New Zealand. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 119, 205216.

S Saggar , CB Hedley , DL Giltrap , SM Lambie 2007b. Measured and modelled estimates of nitrous oxide emission and methane consumption from sheep-grazed pasture. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 122, 357362.

RLM Schils , A Verhagen , HFM Aarts , LBJ Šebek 2005. A farm level approach to define successful mitigation strategies for GHG emissions from ruminant livestock systems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 71, 163175.

RLM Schils , JE Olesen , A del Prado , JF Soussana 2007. A review of farm level modelling approaches for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from ruminant livestock systems. Livestock Science 112, 240251.

RLM Schils , JW van Groenigen , GL Velthof , PJ Kuikman 2008. Nitrous oxide emissions from multiple combined applications of fertiliser and cattle slurry to grassland. Plant and Soil 310, 89101.

RLM Schils , A Verhagen , HFM Aarts , PJ Kuikman , LBJ Šebek 2006a. Effect of improved nitrogen management on greenhouse gas emissions from intensive dairy systems in the Netherlands. Global Change Biology 12, 382391.

J Singh , NS Bolan , S Saggar , M Zaman 2008. The role of inhibitors in controlling the bioavailability and losses of nitrogen. In Chemical bioavailability in terrestrial environment (ed. R Naidu, NS Bolan, M Megharaj, A Juhasz, S Gupta, B Clothier and R Schulin), pp. 329362. Elsevier, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

SG Sommer , SO Petersen , HT Soegaard 2000. Greenhouse gas emission from stored livestock slurry. Journal of Environmental Quality 29, 744751.

E Stehfest , L Bouwman 2006. N2O and NO emission from agricultural fields and soils under natural vegetation: summarizing available measurement data and modeling of global annual emissions. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 74, 207228.

E Stehfest , L Bouwman , DP Van Vuuren , MGJ Den Elzen , B Eickhout , P Kabat 2009. Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change 95, 83102.

RJ Stevens , RJ Laughlin 2001. Cattle slurry affects nitrous oxide and dinitrogen emissions from fertilizer nitrate. Soil Science Society of America Journal 65, 13071314.

RJ Stevens , RJ Laughlin 2002. Cattle slurry applied before fertilizer nitrate lowers nitrous oxide and dinitrogen emissions. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66, 647652.

F Su , N Takaya , H Shoun 2004. Nitrous oxide-forming codenitrification catalyzed by cytochrome P450nor. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry 68, 473475.

G Subbarao , O Ito , K Sahrawat , W Berry , K Nakahara , T Ishikawa , T Watanabe , K Suenaga , M Rondon , I Rao 2006. Scope and strategies for regulation of nitrification in agricultural systems – challenges and opportunities. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 25, 303335.

TJ Van der Weerden , J Luo , CAM De Klein , CJ Hoogendoorn , RP Littlejohn , GJ Rys 2011. Disaggregating nitrous oxide emission factors for ruminant urine and dung deposited onto pastoral soils. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 141, 426436.

CL Van Beek , BG Meerburg , RLM Schils , J Verhagen , PJ Kuikman 2010a. Feeding the world's increasing population while limiting climate change impacts: linking N2O and CH4 emissions from agriculture to population growth. Environmental Science & Policy 13, 8996.

CL Van Beek , M Pleijter , C Jacobs , G Velthof , J van Groenigen , PJ Kuikman 2010b. Emissions of N2O from fertilized and grazed grassland on organic soil in relation to groundwater level. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 86, 331340.

JW Van Groenigen , GL Velthof , FJE van der Bolt , A Vos , PJ Kuikman 2005. Seasonal variation in N2O emissions from urine patches: effects of urine concentration, soil compaction and dung. Plant and Soil 273, 1527.

AM Van Vuuren , CJ van der Koelen , H Valk , H de Visser 1993. Effects of partial replacement of ryegrass by low protein feeds on rumen fermentation and nitrogen loss by dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 76, 29822993.

TV Vellinga , A van den Pol-van Dasselaar , PJ Kuikman 2004. The impact of grassland ploughing on CO2 and N2O emissions in the Netherlands. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 70, 3345.

TV Vellinga , MHA de Haan , RLM Schils , A Evers , A van den Pol-van Dasselaar 2011. Implementation of GHG mitigation on intensive dairy farms: farmers’ preferences and variation in cost effectiveness. Livestock Science 137, 185195.

GL Velthof , J Mosquera 2011. The impact of slurry application technique on nitrous oxide emission from agricultural soils. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 140, 298308.

GL Velthof , O Oenema , R Postma , ML van Beusichem 1996. Effects of type and amount of applied nitrogen fertilizer on nitrous oxide fluxes from intensively managed grassland. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 46, 257267.

GL Velthof , D Oudendag , HR Witzke , WAH Asman , Z Klimont , O Oenema 2009. Integrated assessment of nitrogen losses from agriculture in EU-27 using MITERRA-EUROPE. Journal of Environmental Quality 38, 402417.

GL Velthof , IE Hoving , J Dolfing , A Smit , PJ Kuikman , O Oenema 2010. Method and timing of grassland renovation affects herbage yield, nitrate leaching, and nitrous oxide emission in intensively managed grasslands. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 86, 401412.

J Wang , LM Cardenas , TH Misselbrook , S Gilhespy 2011. Development and application of a detailed inventory framework for estimating nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture. Atmospheric Environment 45, 14541463.

N Wrage , GL Velthof , ML van Beusichem , O Oenema 2001. Role of nitrifier denitrification in the production of nitrous oxide. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 33, 17231732.

S Wulf , M Maeting , J Clemens 2002. Application technique and slurry co-fermentation effects on ammonia, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions after spreading: II. Greenhouse gas emissions. Journal of Environmental Quality 31, 17951801.

M Zaman , ML Nguyen , JD Blennerhassett , BN Quin 2008. Reducing NH3, N2O and NO3-N losses from a pasture soil with urease or nitrification inhibitors and elemental S-amended nitrogenous fertilizers. Biology and Fertility of Soils 44, 693705.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *