Transitioning to conservation ‘sustainable’ agriculture (CA) from the conventional ‘industrial’ agriculture often increase nitrogen (N) limitation, particularly in the first few years. Inadequate N availability is associated with the permanent crop residues on the soil surface. The soil available N for crop uptake is immobilized by microbial sources of organic residues mineralization. The increase in N immobilization contributes to yield declines, and thus, researchers are advocating for the inclusion of N management as the fourth principle in CA. The challenge for CA under optimized N fertilization is how to reduce environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from yield-related productivity. This paper focuses on efficient N management under CA system. Here, we showed the impacts of adaptive N management on crop yields increase, soil health enhancement, and greenhouse gases mitigation. We conclude that efficient N management using innovative technologies and good agronomic practice can scale-up the adoption of CA. An adaptive N management in CA can maintain environmental benefits while contributing to improved soil health and crop productivity. Moreover, the implementation of adaptive N management must be tailored to crop and soil types and location-specific.
Part of the book: Nitrogen in Agriculture