Dairy grasslands on peat soils are prone to nitrous oxide (N2O) losses as a result of relatively high soil organic matter contents, high potential N mineralization rates and shallow groundwater levels. The use of the temperate forage herb ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) (RP) has been suggested as a means to reduce these emissions via the release of secondary compounds with biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) capacity. Here we report a study on the effect of varying shares of plantain (100%RP, 66%RP, 33%RP and 0%RP) sown in a mixture with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) on N2O fluxes in a dairy grassland on peat soil. Actual estimated plantain herbage shares during the measurement period were 68, 42, 22 and 0% for the treatments 100%RP, 66%RP, 33%RP and 0%RP, respectively. After calcium ammonium nitrate fertilisation, N2O emissions were up to 26% lower (P=0.038) in the treatment 100%RP compared with the other treatments. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed a significant decrease of cumulative N2O emissions at an increasing plantain herbage share (P=0.023). Our results suggest that plantain can reduce N2O emissions in nutrient-rich conditions such as dairy grasslands on peat soils.
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Keywords in English: nitrous oxide, nitrification, nitrogen, ribwort plantain, peat, grassland