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The effects of biochar and manure in silage corn

Lentz, R.D. and Ippolito, J.A. and Spokas, K.A. (2015) The effects of biochar and manure in silage corn. Progressive Forage Grower. 16(2):26-29.

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Amending soil with biochar may be a means of sequestering atmospheric CO2 and improving soil quality, but few multiyear field studies have examined the impacts of a one-time biochar application in an irrigated, calcareous soil. We fall-applied four treatments: dairy manure (18.7 tons/ac dry wt.); hardwood-derived biochar (10 tons/ac dry wt.); combined biochar and manure; and no amendments (control). We measured net N-mineralization using buried soil bags and soil greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O) from late spring to fall, corn silage yields, and crop N uptake each year. The influence of biochar and manure on silage yield changed with time after application in fall 2008. Biochar increased corn yields slightly (5%) in 2009, decreased yields by 14% in 2010, and had no effect in 2011. Conversely, manure had no affect on yields in 2009, but increased yields substantially in 2010 (33%) and again slightly in 2011 (7%). When compared with a class comprising all other treatments, biochar-only produced 33% less cumulative net N mineralization, 20% less CO2-C and 50% less N2O-N gas emissions, and increased the soil NH4:NO3 ratio 1.8-fold, indicating that biochar impaired nitrification and N immobilization processes. While the biochar-only treatment demonstrated a potential to increase corn yields and minimize CO2-C and N2O-N gas emissions in these calcareous soils, biochar also caused decreased corn yields under conditions in which NH4-N dominated the soil inorganic N pool. The combined biochar-manure treatment more effectively utilized the two soil amendments as it eliminated potential yield reductions caused by biochar and maximized manure net N mineralization potential.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1540
Subjects: Air Quality > Air Emissions > Agricultural Soils
Air Quality > Air Emissions > Manure Management
Soil > Calcareous soil
Soil > Soil quality
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 18:51
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2015 18:52
Item ID: 1584