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Compost and fertilizer - alternatives or complementary?

management feasibility and long-term effects on soil fertility in an Ethiopian village

Bedada, Workneh (2015). Compost and fertilizer - alternatives or complementary? Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2015:123
ISBN 978-91-576-8444-8
eISBN 978-91-576-8445-5
[Doctoral thesis]

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Decline in soil fertility due to nutrient depletion is a concern for low-input crop production in the highlands of Ethiopia. Fertilizer addition is insufficient due to infrastructural and socioeconomic constraints. Effects of compost addition, alone or in combination with NP fertilizer, on crop productivity and soil fertility were studied in long-term on-farm experiments in Beseku, Ethiopia. The combined treatment resulted in an added benefit (synergy), i.e., a higher yield than when compost or fertilizer was added alone. The highest yield increase was found for maize where the combined treatment had 78% and 26% higher yields compared to the control and fertilizer treatment, respectively.

Plant available concentrations of B, P, S, and Zn increased in the compost and/or the combined treatment compared to the control. Soil organic carbon and total nitrogen stocks increased in the combined treatment compared with the fertilizer treatment. Substrate-induced respiration from the combined treatment was lower compared to the compost treatment, but catabolic versatility was higher in the combined treatment compared with the compost and the control. This suggests that a combination of compost and fertilizer induces a wider microbial catabolic capability which might lead to higher nutrient mobilization. The apparent yield synergy in the combined treatment likely attributed to; (1) alleviation of micro- and macronutrient limitations allowing for a more efficient use of fertilizer N and P and/or (2) improvement of the soil microbial catabolic capability. However, the indirect effects of compost on soil physical properties leading to improved nutrient use efficiency are also a possible explanation.

The plot level N balance was strongly negative for the fertilizer treatment and the control, whereas it was close to steady-state in the combined and compost treatments. All treatments except the control had positive P balances. Therefore, the addition of compost, alone or in combination with fertilizer, improves the nutrient status of the soil and serves as a complement to fertilizer use reducing the dependence on mineral fertilizer in low-input crop production systems.

The major factor limiting the adoption of compost by farmers was lack of knowledge. Practical and theoretical training had a positive effect on adoption.

Authors/Creators:Bedada, Workneh
Title:Compost and fertilizer - alternatives or complementary?
Subtitle:management feasibility and long-term effects on soil fertility in an Ethiopian village
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :November 2015
Depositing date:18 November 2015
Number of Pages:72
IBedada, W., E. Karltun, M. Lemenih, and M. Tolera (2014). Long-term addition of compost and NP fertilizer increases crop yield and improves soil quality in experiments on smallholder farms. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 195, 193–201.
IIBedada, W., M. Lemenih, and E. Karltun (201X). Soil nutrient build-up, input interaction effects and plot level N and P balances under long-term addition of compost and NP fertilizer. Accepted for publication in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.
IIIBedada, W., S. Dahlin, C. Campbell, and E. Karltun (201X). Long-term addition of compost and NP fertilizer affects soil microbial activity and catabolic diversity (manuscript).
IVBedada, W., L. Chiwona-Karltun, and E. Karltun (201X). Household characteristics affect compost adoption in an Ethiopian village (manuscript).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8444-8
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8445-5
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F04 Fertilizing
P Natural resources > P35 Soil fertility
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Agrovoc terms:composts, nitrogen phosphorus fertilizers, fertilizer application, composting, soil fertility, crop yield, nutrient availability, nutrient balance, zea mays, smallholders, ethiopia
Keywords:Compost, Fertilizer, Soil fertility, Nutrient balance, Smallholder, Substrate-induced respiration, MicroResp, Compost adoption, Ethiopia
Permanent URL:
ID Code:12825
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
External funders:Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Deposited By: Workneh Bedada Chala
Deposited On:20 Nov 2015 13:40
Metadata Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 13:41

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