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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 102 No. 2, p. 623-633
     
    Received: Feb 27, 2009


    * Corresponding author(s): jgaskin@engr.uga.edu
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doi:10.2134/agronj2009.0083

Effect of Peanut Hull and Pine Chip Biochar on Soil Nutrients, Corn Nutrient Status, and Yield

  1. Julia W. Gaskin *a,
  2. R. Adam Speira,
  3. Keith Harrisa,
  4. K. C. Dasa,
  5. R. Dewey Leeb,
  6. Lawrence A. Morrisc and
  7. Dwight S. Fisherd
  1. a Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dep., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    b Crop and Soil Science Dep., Univ. of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793
    c Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    d JPC Natural Resource Conservation Center, USDA-ARS, Watkinsville, GA 30677

Abstract

Pyrolysis is the anaerobic thermal conversion of biomass for energy production. It offers an option of returning carbon and nutrients to the soil while producing energy. The Ultisols in the southeastern United States have inherently low soil organic carbon and fertility, and may benefit from the addition of biochar from pyrolysis. Our objectives were to evaluate the effect of peanut hull and pine chip biochars on soil nutrients, corn (Zea mays L.) nutrient status and yield in a Kandiudult for two growing seasons (2006 and 2007). Experiments for each biochar source were conducted as completely randomized designs with the biochar applied at 0, 11, and 22 Mg ha−1 with and without N fertilizer. Nitrogen in the peanut hull biochar (209 kg ha−1 at 11 Mg ha−1 rate) was not available during the study based on corn tissue concentrations. The peanut hull biochar linearly increased Mehlich I K, Ca, and Mg in the surface soil (0–15 cm). The increased available K was reflected in the plant tissue analysis at corn stage R1 in 2006, but not in 2007. Pine chip biochar decreased soil pH, but had no effect on other nutrients except Mehlich I Ca. In the peanut hull biochar experiment, grain yields decreased at the 22 Mg ha−1 rate in the fertilized treatments. In the pine chip biochar experiment, grain yields decreased linearly with application rate in 2006, but this did not persist in 2007. Overall yield responses to biochar were smaller than expected based on previous studies.

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Copyright © 2010. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2010 by the American Society of Agronomy