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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317812

Title: Soil chemical changes of coastal plains ultisols with winter wheat: contrasting effects of sorghum biochars and sorghum residues

item Sigua, Gilbert
item HUNT, PATRICK - Retired ARS Employee
item Stone, Kenneth - Ken
item Novak, Jeffrey

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/5/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although most soil properties were improved following application of crop residues and/or pyrolyzed crop residues, there still a need to pursue additional research that will improve our understanding on the impact of soil fertility enhancement because the effect could vary greatly between uncharred sorghum residues and pyrolyzed sorghum residues. The effectiveness of application of composts, animal manures or mineral fertilizer are known to vary significantly whether they are incorporated or surface applied and similar responses can be expected to the method of biochar application. Little research has been published elucidating the contrasting effects of sorghum residues and sorghum biochars on crop growth and soil quality changes. We hypothesized that sorghum biochars (SB) would deliver more significant impact on soil chemical changes than sorghum residues (SR). The objective of this study was to evaluate the contrasting effects of SR and SB with or without supplemental inorganic phosphorus (P) on soil chemical changes of Coastal Plains Ultisols with winter wheat. The rates for SR and SB were 13,000 and 5,200 kg per hectare (kg/ha), respectively. Inorganic P was added at the rate of 40 kg P/ ha. Our results fully support our hypothesis that SB would deliver more positive effect on the changes of soil chemical properties than the SR. Most of the chemical properties of soils were significantly affected by sorghum treatments (SB + SR) and also varied widely between soil types. Overall, application of SB had small, but significant effects on soil pH, soil electrical conductivity, total carbon and total nitrogen. Quite notably was the significant difference of these soil properties between soil types. Other aspects of soil chemical changes including extractable P, potassium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum and iron were significantly affected by sorghum treatments. Our results have demonstrated widely differing and contrasting effects between SB and SR on changes in soil chemical properties of Coastal Plains Ultisols.