Paper Mill Residuals and Compost Effects on Soil Carbon and Physical Properties
- B. J. Foley and
- L. R. Cooperband *
Use of organic by-products as soil amendments in agricultural production exemplifies a strategy for converting wastes to resources. The overall objective of this research was to evaluate the short- and intermediate-term effects of repeatedly amending sandy soil with paper mill residuals (PMR) and composted PMR in a vegetable rotation in Wisconsin's Central Sands. Specifically, we investigated the effects of PMR and composted PMR on total soil C and related these to changes in water-holding capacity and plant-available water (PAW). Amendment effects on irrigation requirements were estimated with a simple soil water balance model. The experimental design was replicated five times as a randomized complete block with four organic amendments: raw PMR, PMR composted alone (PMRC), PMR composted with bark (PMRB), and peat applied at two rates and a nonamended control. All amended treatments significantly increased total soil C relative to the nonamended control following applications in 1998 and 1999. One year following the second serial amendment, all PMR treatments increased PAW by 5 to 45% relative to the control. There was a significant positive linear relationship between total soil C and PAW. All amended treatments reduced the average amount of irrigation water required for potato production by 4 to 30% and the number of irrigation events by 10 to 90%. There was a clear trend of greater reduction in irrigation requirements with more carbon added. The cumulative effects of repeated additions of PMRB suggest that certain composts might sustain elevated PAW and reduce irrigation requirements beyond one year.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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