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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 6, p. 2001-2008
    Received: Jan 19, 2012
    Published: October 18, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): ald271@psu.edu
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Nutrient Leaching and Soil Retention in Mined Land Reclaimed with Stabilized Manure

  1. Ashlee L. Dere *a,
  2. Richard C. Stehouwera,
  3. Emad Aboukilab and
  4. Kirsten E. McDonalda
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802
    b Dep. of Natural Resources and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture, Damanhour Univ., Egypt. Assigned to Associate Editor Greg Evanylo


Two environmental problems in Pennsylvania are degraded mined lands and excess manure nutrients from intensive animal production. Manure could be used in mine reclamation, but the large application rates required for sustained biomass production could result in significant nutrient discharge. An abandoned mine site in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, was used to test manure nutrient stabilization by composting and by mixing with primary paper mill sludge (PMS). Reclamation treatments were lime and fertilizer, composted poultry manure (78 and 156 Mg ha−1), and poultry manure (50 Mg ha−1) mixed with PMS (103 and 184 Mg ha−1) to achieve C-to-N ratios of 20 and 29. Leachates were collected with zero-tension lysimeters, and during 3 yr following amendment application, <1% of added N leached from the compost treatments. The manure+PMS C:N 29 treatment leached more N than any other treatment (393 kg N ha−1 during 3 yr, 12.4 times more N than compost treatments), mostly as pulses of NO3 in the first two fall seasons following reclamation. The manure+PMS C:N 20 treatment leached 107 kg N ha−1 during 3 yr. Three years after amendment application, most of the N and P added with the manure-based amendments was retained in the mine soil even though net immobilization of N by PMS appeared to be limited to 3 mo following application. Composting or mixing PMS with manure to achieve a C-to-N ratio of 20 can effectively minimize N leaching, retain added N in mine soil, and provide greater improvement in soil quality than lime and fertilizer amendment.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.