Irrigation management may influence soil greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Solid-set sprinkler irrigation systems allow to modify the irrigation time and frequency. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of two irrigation times (daytime, D; nighttime, N)and two irrigation frequencies (low, L; high, H)on soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O)emissions in a solid-set sprinkler-irrigated maize (Zea mays L.)field located in NE Spain during 2015 and 2016 growing seasons and the fallow period between growing seasons. Compared with D irrigation, N irrigation increased soil water content (0–5 cm)in both growing seasons. Irrigation management did not affect CH4 emissions and the soil acted as a sink of CH4. Cumulative CO2 emissions were affected by the measurement period (growing season vs fallow)with the greatest values in 2015 growing season, being 81 and 32% higher over the fallow period and over the 2016 growing season, respectively, due to the effect of the preceding crop, alfalfa, and a better soil moisture conditions for the microorganism activity. Similarly, cumulative N2O emissions showed the highest values in 2015, reporting values 90 and 51% greater than the fallow period and the 2016 growing season, respectively. Moreover, N irrigation increased cumulative N2O emissions by 29% compared with D irrigation, but irrigation frequency did not affect cumulative N2O emissions. Irrigation time did not affect cumulative N2O emissions scaled per grain yield or per N uptake because N irrigation increased maize yield by 11% compared with D irrigation. Due to the lack of differences in the scaled N2O emissions, N irrigation should be consider as an appropriate strategy to optimize grain yield without compromising soil GHG emissions per unit of grain yield in Mediterranean agroecosystems.
Agricultural Water Management, Volume 221, 20 July 2019,