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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Fertility

Flue Gas Desulfurization Products as Sulfur Sources for Alfalfa and Soybean


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 97 No. 1, p. 265-271
    Received: Apr 7, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): dick.5@osu.edu
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  1. Liming Chena,
  2. Warren A. Dick *a and
  3. Sid Nelsonb
  1. a School of Nat. Resour., The Ohio State Univ., Wooster, OH 44691
    b Sorbent Technol. Corp., 1664 East Highland Rd., Twinsburg, OH 44087


Sulfur deficiencies in soil are expected to increase due to growth of high-yielding crop varieties, use of S-free fertilizers, and removal of S from industrial emissions. Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) products, created when coal is burned and SO2 is removed from the flue gases, may serve as efficient S sources. However, there are few reports on their use for the enhancement of crop growth. Agricultural gypsum and two types of FGD products, that contain either vermiculite or perlite, were applied at 0, 16, and 67 kg S ha−1 to an agricultural soil (Wooster silt loam, Typic Fragiudalf). Dry weight of a new planting of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) was increased up to 40% by the treatments of FGD products or gypsum compared with the untreated control. Gypsum and FGD products were also applied at 0, 8, 16, and 24 kg S ha−1 to five established alfalfa stands in different Ohio regions. Mean alfalfa yield was significantly (P ≤ 0.05 ) increased by approximately 5.0% in 2001 and 6.0% in 2002 with the S treatments of FGD products or gypsum compared with the untreated control. Alfalfa yields for FGD products and gypsum treatments were similar. A slight positive yield response was observed for soybean (Glycine max L.) when soils were treated with S-containing materials. Soil and plant analyses were made to assess potential adverse environmental impacts and none were observed. Thus, these FGD products can be safely applied to agricultural soils as S sources and can improve alfalfa yields in S-deficient soils.

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