Abstract. Emissions of N2O were measured from different agricultural systems in SE Scotland. N2O emissions increased temporarily after fertilization of arable crops, cultivation of bare soil, ploughing up of grassland and incorporation of arable and horticultural crop residues, but the effect was short-lived. Most of the emission occurred during the first two weeks, returning to ‘background’ levels after 30–40 days. The highest flux was from N-rich lettuce residues, 1100 g N2O-N ha−1 being emitted over the first 14 days after incorporation by rotary tillage. The magnitude and pattern of emissions was strongly influenced by rainfall, soil mineral N, cultivation technique and C∶N ratio of the residue. Comparatively large emissions were measured after incorporation of material with low C∶N ratios. Management practices are recommended that would increase N-use efficiency and reduce N2O emissions from agricultural soils.