Using the Farm Energy Analysis Tool (FEAT), we compare energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the cultivation of different crops, highlight the role of sustainable management practices, and discuss the impact of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and the uncertainty associated with denitrification estimates in the northeastern United States. FEAT is a transparent, open-source model that allows users to choose parameter estimates from an evolving database. The results show that nitrogen fertilizer and N2O emissions accounted for the majority of differences between crop energy use and GHG emissions, respectively. Integrating sustainable practices such as no tillage and a legume cover crop reduced energy use and GHG emissions from corn production by 37% and 42%, respectively. Our comparisons of diverse crops and management practices illustrate important trade-offs and can inform decisions about agriculture. We also compared methods of estimating N2O emissions and suggest additional research on this potent GHG.

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