The Effect of Different Organic Fertilizers on Yield and Soil and Crop Nutrient Concentrations

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Thomas, C. L., Acquah, G., Whitmore, A. P., McGrath, S. P. and Haefele, S. M. 2019. The Effect of Different Organic Fertilizers on Yield and Soil and Crop Nutrient Concentrations. Agronomy. 9 (12), p. 776.

AuthorsThomas, C. L., Acquah, G., Whitmore, A. P., McGrath, S. P. and Haefele, S. M.
Abstract

At present, organic fertilizers are not widely used in intensive arable agriculture, and not much is known about their effects on crop nutrition. In a field experiment at Rothamsted, UK, anaerobic digestate (AD), compost, farmyard manure (FYM), straw, and mixes of amendment + straw, were applied at: 1, 1.75, 2.5 or 3.5 t carbon ha−1, with all plots receiving the same input of mineral fertilizer. After five seasons of application, plots receiving non-straw amendments had greater straw and grain yield of 28% and 18% respectively, and plots receiving the highest amendment rate had a 37% higher straw and 23% higher grain yield, compared to control plots. Whereas, the straw-only amendment did not increase yield compared to the control. The concentrations of secondary and micro nutrients in the crop, particularly P, Ca, and S in the straw, and P and Fe in the grain, were significantly greater in the crop receiving non-straw amendment compared to the control. Interestingly K, Fe, and Zn were greater in the crop straw treated with the straw-only amendment. Therefore ‘biomass dilution’ of secondary and micro nutrients did not occur in the higher-yielding amended plots after five seasons, and organic fertilizers would improve the quality of high-yielding, intensively produced crops. The study also demonstrates that portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) could be a reliable, cost-effective tool for screening potential organic fertilizers.

KeywordsOrganic fertilizers;; Crop mineral nutrition; Soil organic matter (SOM); Portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF)
Year of Publication2019
JournalAgronomy
Journal citation9 (12), p. 776
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3390/agronomy9120776
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/9/12/776
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition [ISPG]
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 Nov 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted18 Nov 2019
PublisherMDPI
ISSN2073-4395

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