Compost, manure, and gypsum application to timothy/red clover forage.J Environ Qual. 2006 Nov-Dec; 35(6):2410-8.JE
Some of the most fertile agricultural land in Atlantic Canada includes dykelands, which were developed from rich salt marshes along the Bay of Fundy through the construction of dykes. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted on dykeland soil to evaluate the effect of fertility treatments: source-separated municipal solid waste (SS-MSW) compost, solid manure, commercial fertilizer, and gypsum on (1) timothy/red clover forage productivity, (2) N, S, and other nutrients uptake, and (3) residual NO(3)-N and NH(4)-N in the soil profile. All fertility treatments increased dry matter yields from the two cuts each year relative to the control. Residual soil NO(3)-N and NH(4)-N concentrations in the fall of the second year decreased with depth, and beyond 20-cm depth were lower than 1 mg kg(-1). Gypsum application equivalent to 40 kg S ha(-1) increased dry matter yields and N uptake by forage, and increased soil Mehlich 3-extractable S, tissue S, and uptake of S, Ca, P, Cu, Fe, and Mn relative to the control. High rates of compost can provide sufficient N, S, and perhaps other nutrients to a perennial forage system under the cool wet climate of Atlantic Canada with no heavy metal enrichment of forage. However, the chemical N provided greater total N uptake than organic sources, except the high rate of compost, suggesting that the N availability from organic sources was not well synchronized with forage N demand. Municipal solid waste compost may also increase soil and forage tissue Na, which might be of concern.