Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Using Agricultural and Industrial Byproducts to Improve Crop Production Systems and Environment Quality

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Use of FGD gypsum on a bermudagrass pasture in the Appalachian Plateau Region

Authors
item Watts, Dexter
item Torbert, Henry

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 9, 2011
Publication Date: May 9, 2011
Citation: Watts, D.B., Torbert III, H.A. 2011. Use of FGD gypsum on a bermudagrass pasture in the Appalachian Plateau Region. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial World Coal Ash (WOCA) International Conference, May 9-12, 2011, Denver, CO. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Addition of coal power plant gypsum to soil is thought to increase plant production. A study to evaluate the use of commercial gypsum and power company gypsum on bermudagrass yield was conducted. Two sources of power company gypsum (FGD gypsum and FGD gypsum + fly ash) and a commercially mined gypsum source were applied. Poultry litter was used as the fertilizer nutrient source. Slight increases in bermudagrass production were observed during the first year of application. The effect of gypsum on bermudagrass yield was less obvious during the second year. No detrimental effects on plant yield were observed from the different gypsum sources. Essentially all three gypsum sources had similar effects on bermudagrass yield. To understand the full potential of gypsum addition to bermudagrass more research is needed.

Technical Abstract: Addition of industrial by-products from coal fired power plants (FGD gypsum and FGD gypsum + fly ash) are thought to increase plant production. Thus, a study was conducted to evaluate the effects of industrial by-products as a soil amendment on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) yield. The study was conducted on an established bermudagrass pasture. Poultry litter was applied to the pasture as the nutrient source at a rate of 8.8 Mg ha-1. After poultry litter addition, commercial gypsum, and FGD-gypsum, FGD-gypsum + fly ash was applied at three different rates (2, 10, and 20 Mg ha-1). Addition of gypsum, whether it was commercial gypsum, FGD-gypsum, or FGD-gypsum + fly ash impacted plant yield the same, suggesting that FGD-gypsum and FGD-gypsum + fly ash could be an alternative for commercial gypsum. During the 2008 growing season, the three gypsum sources at 10 Mg ha-1 produced the greatest plant response. However, during the 2009 growing season, the three gypsum sources at 2 Mg ha-1 produced the greatest plant response. Differences in growth response between the two growing seasons could be attributed to increased rainfall observed during the 2009 growing season. This study shows that gypsum addition to soil can potentially influence bermudagrass pasture systems, but in order to understand the full potential of gypsum addition to soil a long-term evaluation is needed.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014