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Shortgrass Steppe for Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network in Nunn, Colorado

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posted on 2023-11-30, 08:42 authored by Steve Del Grosso

Shortgrass Steppe for Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network in Nunn, Colorado Cattle play a major role in nutrient cycling of grassland ecosystems through biomass removal and excrement deposition (urine and feces). We studied the effects of cattle excrement patches (urine at 430 and feces at 940 kg N ha-1) on nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) fluxes using semi-static chambers on cool-season (C3), Bozoisky-select (*Psathyrostachys juncea*) pasture, and warm-season (C4)-dominated native rangeland of the shortgrass steppe (SGS) in northeastern Colorado. Nitrous oxide emission factors (EF; i.e., percent of added N emitted as N2O-N) did not differ between urine and feces on the C4-dominated native rangeland (0.11 and 0.10%) and C3 pasture (0.13 and 0.10%). These EFs are substantially less than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 1 Default EF (2%) for manure deposited on pasture, indicating that during dry years the IPCC Tier 1 Default EF would result in a significant overestimation of emissions from excrement patches deposited on SGS C4-dominated native rangeland and C3 pasture. Over the first year of the study (19 June 2012 to 18 June 2013), cumulative CH4 uptake was 38% greater for urine (-1.49 vs. -1.08 kg CH4-C ha-1) and 28% greater for control plots (-2.09 vs. -1.63 kg CH4-C ha-1) on C4-dominated native rangeland compared to C3 pasture. In contrast, feces patches were net sources of CH4 with emissions from the C3 pasture (0.64 kg CH4-C ha-1) 113% greater than the C4-dominated native rangeland (0.30 kg CH4-C ha-1). Conversion of C4-dominated native rangeland to C3 pasture can have short and long term effects on CH4 uptake; therefore consideration should be taken before implementing this management practice.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: Nunn, CO Shortgrass Steppe (CONUNRBS) CSV data.

    File Name:

    Resource Description: CSV format data on Experimental Units, Field Sites, Greenhouse Gas Flux, Soil Chemistry, Soil Physics, Amendments, Planting, Persons, Treatments, Weather Daily, Weather Station.


Agricultural Research Service


Data contact name

Del Grosso, Steve


Ag Data Commons

Use limitations

Citation requested if data is used.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • irregular


  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description


ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

steppes; Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network; Colorado; cattle; biogeochemical cycles; ecosystems; biomass; urine; feces; nitrous oxide; methane; cold season; Psathyrostachys juncea; pastures; warm season; rangelands; nitrous oxide production; emissions factor; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; emissions; long term effects

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 211
  • 212

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Del Grosso, Steve (2020). Shortgrass Steppe for Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network in Nunn, Colorado. Ag Data Commons.

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