Use of composted dairy manure solids mulch for raspberry: Influences on soil nematode communities and N and P availability.

Forge, T.A., Walters, T.W., and Koch, C.A. (2014). "Use of composted dairy manure solids mulch for raspberry: Influences on soil nematode communities and N and P availability.", Compost Science & Utilization, 22(4), pp. 230-241. doi : 10.1080/1065657X.2014.930677  Access to full text

Abstract

The effects of mulches of dairy manure solids (DMS) and composted dairy manure solids (CDMS) on soil N and P dynamics, nematode community structure, and root growth were studied over three years in a new field of raspberry planted in northwestern Washington. Five fertilizer/mulch treatments were applied to 16-m-long row plots: (1) 34 kg N ha1 applied as granular fertilizer in April; (2) 34 kg N ha1 applied in May; (3) split application of 34 kg N ha1 April + 34 kg N ha1 May; (4) 34 kg N ha1 fertilizer + DMS; and (5) 34 kg N ha1 fertilizer + CDMS. Cumulative applications of DMS and CDMS were 28 and 49 Mg dry material ha1 concentrated on the raspberry row, respectively. Adsorption of NO3-N and P onto anion-exchange resins, and October soil NO3-N concentrations, were lower in mulched soil than in non-mulched soil, but leaf N concentrations were greater in mulch treatments. Fine root biomass and the abundances of bacterivorous, fungivorous, and omnivorous-predacious nematodes, and the nematode Structure Index were greater in mulched soil than in non-mulched soil. Mulches had no effect on root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans) infecting roots. Our results suggest that mulches of composted or non-composted DMS can enhance root growth, overall soil biological activity, and nutrient acquisition while also reducing soil mineral N pools and the risk of nitrate leaching. There were no substantial differences between composted and non-composted DMS.

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