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How much greenhouse gases do grass-clover crop sequences emit?

Treibhausgasflussmessung in Weizen
© Uni Bonn/Harriet Hunter

Joint research project "Regional Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Systems with Grass-Clover and Wheat Crop Sequence"

Organic farming integrates clover and grass mixtures into crop sequences to increase soil fertility. The symbiotic N fixation provides N fertilisation to subsequent crops.

Background and Objective

There is a lack of data regarding the impact grass-clover cropping on nitrous oxide  (N2O) emission from crop ssequences. The project aimed to derive N2O emission factors for grass-clover and wheat crop sequences. Emission factors are used to estimate N2O emission in dependence on nitrogen input.

Specific project aims were measurement and modelling of N2O fluxes in the central part of the organic farming crop sequences: grass-clover, incorporation of grass-clover and the following wheat in comparison to conventional cropping of winter wheat. Farm specific methods of grass-clover incorporation were investigated and compared regarding their effect on crop yield an potential for mitigation of N2O emission.

Target Group

The project is geared towards agricultural praxis and consulting. Results will improve the German emission inventories and the Thünen institute's consulting of policy makers.


4 field trials were established in different regions of Germany, comprising rotations with grass-clover followed by wheat in different treatments. Fluxes of nitrous oxide and several soil and environmental parameters were measured for two years.


see the publications for results

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
    (Halle (Saale), Deutschland)
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
    (Bonn, Deutschland)
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München
    (München, Deutschland)
  • Technische Universität München
    (München, Freising-Weihenstephan, Deutschland)


10.2010 - 5.2013

More Information

Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Fuß R, Blank B, Christen O, Munch JC, Neuhoff D, Schmid H, Freibauer A (2013) Nitrous oxide emissions from crop sequences of grass-clover and wheat. Geophys Res Abstr 15:7258

  2. 1

    Fuß R, Dechow R, Freibauer A (2013) Regionale Treibhausgasflüsse in Kleegras-Weizensystemen. In: Institut für Ökologischen Landbau (ed) Klimawirkungen und Nachhaltigkeit ökologischer und konventioneller Pilotbetriebe in Deutschland : wissenschaftliche Tagung ; Thünen-Institut Braunschweig im Forum am Mittwoch, 27. Februar 2013. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, pp 11-13

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