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Influence of compost source on corn grain yields, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions in southwestern Ontario.

Drury, C.F., Reynolds, W.D., Yang, X.M., Tan, C.S., Guo, X.-B., McKenney, D.J., and Fleming, R. (2014). "Influence of compost source on corn grain yields, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions in southwestern Ontario.", Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 94(3), pp. 347-355. doi : 10.4141/CJSS2013-077  Access to full text


The impacts of compost type on corn grain yields over 10 yr and N2O and CO2 emissions in the first 3 yr after compost application were evaluated on a Brookston clay loam soil in Woodslee, ON. The treatments included yard waste compost (YWC), kitchen food waste compost (FWC), and pig manure compost (PMC), which were applied once in the fall of 1998 to field plots at a rate of 75 Mg ha1 (dry weight basis) and no further applications occurred thereafter as well as a fertilized control treatment. Large application rates were examined to see if the various compost sources could have a lasting effect on soil C storage, N2O and CO2 emissions and corn yields. Compost application significantly increased corn grain yields by 12.9 to 19.4% over 3 yr. However, after 10 yr, FWC was the only compost source which significantly increased yields by 11.3% compared with the fertilized control. Emissions of N2O and CO2 varied with compost type, soil water content and time. Greater N2O emissions occurred in 1999 from PMC (5.4 kg N ha1) than YWC (2.7 kg N ha1) and FWC (1.3 kg N ha1); however, the N2O emissions from the PMC were less than from YWC and FWC in 2001. The 3-yr average N2O emissions were significantly greater with PMC (2.7 kg N ha1) and YWC (2.5 kg N ha1) compared with the control (1.5 kg N ha1). Hence, the timing of N2O emissions varied by compost type, but the overall losses were similar as the higher N2O losses in the first year with PMC were offset by the reduced losses with PMC in the third year. Significantly more CO2 was produced from the FWC in 2000 and from PMC in 2001 than the control.

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