Manure and Paper Mill Sludge Application Effects on Potato Yield, Nitrogen Efficiency and Disease Incidence.

N'Dayegamiye, A., Nyiraneza, J., Giroux, M., Grenier, M., and Drapeau, A. (2013). "Manure and Paper Mill Sludge Application Effects on Potato Yield, Nitrogen Efficiency and Disease Incidence.", Agronomy, 3(1), pp. 43-58. doi : 10.3390/agronomy3010043  Access to full text


Appropriate organic amendment management is essential in potato production to increase soil productivity and potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) quality. The objectives of this two-year field study (2004–2005) were to evaluate the effects of organic amendment applications with or without mineral N fertilizer addition on potato yield, N uptake, N use efficiency (NUE), and on disease incidence. The experimental design was a split-plot, which included nine treatments with four different organic amendments applied in fall 2003 or in spring 2004 at a rate of 40 Mg ha-1 (wet basis) and an unamended control in main plots, and N fertilizer rates (0 and 90 kg N ha-1) in sub-plots. Organic amendments consisted of fresh cattle manure (FCM), composted cattle manure (CCM), paper mill sludge with C/N ratio <15 (PMS1) and paper mill sludge with C/N >15 (PMS2) applied alone (0 kg N ha-1) or supplemented with mineral fertilizer at a rate 90 kg N ha-1. The N fertilizer rate in the unamended control consisted of 0 and 150 kg N ha-1. No organic amendments were applied in 2005 to evaluate residual effects. Fall and spring applications of FCM, CCM and PMS alone significantly increased N uptake and potato marketable yields by 2.5 to 16.4 Mg ha-1, compared to the unfertilized control. Combining organic amendments with N fertilizer at 90 kg N ha-1 increased potato yields, N uptake, and specific gravity, which were comparable to those obtained in mineral N fertilizer treatments (150 kg N ha-1). Residual effects of organic amendments alone had no significant effects on potato yields or on N uptake compared to the unfertilized control. Potato NUE for FCM, CCM and PMS ranged from 6% to 25% in the first year and from 2% to 8% in the residual year. The NUE values were higher for PMS with lower C/N ratio compared to FCM and CCM. This study did not show any difference between organic amendment applied in spring or fall on potato yield and quality. It was also demonstrated that mineral N fertilizer needed to be combined with organic amendments to sustain potato yield and N nutrition. This study showed that appropriate organic amendment management could increase potato yield and quality and reduce N fertilizer requirement.

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