Patterns of nutrient dynamics within and below the rootzone of collard greens grown under different organic amendment types and rates

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Sustainability (Switzerland)


The knowledge about nutrient dynamics in the soil is pivotal for sustainable agriculture. A comprehensive research trial can retort unanswered questions. Dynamics of nutrients sourced from organic amendment types (chicken manure, dairy manure, and Milorganite™) applied at different rates (0, 168, 336, 672 kg total N/ha) were monitored within and below the rootzone of collard greens cultivated on a sandy loam soil in Prairie View, TX, USA. Macro-and micronutrients (e.g., TN: total nitrogen, P: phosphorous, K: potassium, Na: sodium, Ca: calcium, Mg: magnesium, B: boron, Cu: copper, Fe: iron, and Zn: zinc) were analyzed from soil solution samples collected during six sampling periods from within and below the rootzone. As hypothesized, the organic amendment types and rates significantly (p < 0.05 and/or 0.01) affected nutrient dynamics within and below the crop rootzone. Chicken manure released significantly more TN, P, K, Na, Ca, Mg, B, Cu, and Fe than the other two amendments. The application of chicken manure and Milorganite™ resulted in higher below-the-rootzone leachate concentration of TN, Na, Mg, and Ca than in the leachates of dairy manure. Dairy manure treatments had the lowest concentrations of TN, Ca, and Mg; whereas, Milorganite™ had the lowest concentrations of P, K, Na, B, and Cu in the collected leachates. The higher level of P (i.e., 4% in Milorganite™ as compared to 2 and 0.5% in chicken and dairy manures, respectively, might have reduced the formation of Vesicular-Arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizae—a fungus with the ability to dissolve the soil P, resulting in slow release of P from Milorganite™ treatment than from the other two treatments. Patterns of nutrient dynamics varied with rain and irrigation events under the effects of the soil water and time lapse of the amendment applications’ rates and types. All the macronutrients were present within the rootzone and leached below the rootzone, except Na. The dynamic of nutrients was element-specific and was influenced by the amendments’ type and application rate.



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