Farm compost application: effects on crop performance

Tommy D'Hose, M. Cougnon, A. De Vliegher, K. Willekens, E. Van Bockstaele, D. Reheul

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Compost application can contribute to agricultural sustainability. Municipal solid waste compost has been the subject of most of the research done so far. Farm compost (FC) has a different composition. It is made of varying ingredients available on the farm, e.g., wood chips and bark, manure, straw, crop residues and surplus grass and soil. Information is currently lacking on the agronomic value and environmental impact of FC. Therefore, a long-term field experiment was established to quantify the effect of FC application on crop performance and soil quality in a crop rotation of potatoes, fodder beet, forage maize and Brussels sprouts. This paper presents the results of the first four years of the ongoing field trial. In the fourth year of the experiment, the annual FC amendment resulted in a significant increase in dry matter yield for all four crops. Our results suggested that the positive effect of continual FC application was based on a combination of a slow release of nitrogen and providing better growing opportunities to the crops. Results on the effect of FC on the residual nitrate content ill the soil, disease suppression and DM content of the crops are not yet decisive.
TaalEngels
TijdschriftCompost Science & Utilization
Volume20
Exemplaarnummer1
Pagina's (van-tot)49-56
Aantal pagina's8
ISSN1065-657X
StatusGepubliceerd - 2012

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