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Field studies on the value of nutrient-enriched biosolids granules as amendments for winter cereal crops

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1700446.(doi:10.13031/aim.201700446)
Authors:   Diogenes L. Antille
Keywords:   Biosolids, Fertilizer-use efficiency, Fertilizer response, Nitrogen recovery, Optimum economic nitrogen rate, Sustainable sludge recycling, Wheat.

Abstract. Field-scale experiments in four crop seasons established the agronomic performance of biosolids-derived organomineral fertilizers (OMF) for winter wheat production in England. Two OMF formulations known as OMF10 (10:4:4) and OMF15 (15:4:4) were compared with urea and thermally-dried biosolids granules (≈5:6:0.2) to determine fertilizer effects on crop responses. Fertilizers were applied at N rates between 0 and 250 kg ha-1 at regular increments of 50 kg ha-1 N. Average grain yields with OMF10 and OMF15 were higher than with biosolids granules, but lower than with urea (P<0.05). The optimum N application rates, and corresponding grain yields, were 245 and 7900 kg ha-1 for biosolids, 257 and 9100 kg ha-1 for OMF10, 249 and 9500 kg ha-1 for OMF15, and 225 and 10350 kg ha-1 for urea, respectively. Grain-N recoveries for N inputs equivalent to the optimum rate were 31% for biosolids, ≈40% for OMF and 52% for urea. The use of OMF for winter cereal production appears to be a sustainable approach to recycling biosolids to land.

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