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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399344

Research Project: Developing Agronomically and Environmentally Beneficial Management Practices to Increase the Sustainability and Safety of Animal Manure Utilization

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Biochar and poultry litter effect on corn yield, nutrient uptake, and atmospheric emissions

item Sistani, Karamat

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Biochar as soil amendment may have many benefit such as: to sequester carbon, improve soil fertility, adsorb organic pollutants, stimulate soil microbial activities, conserve plant nutrients, and improve crop yield. We used a hardwood biochar as a soil amendment in central Kentucky, USA to assess its impact on corn (Zea mays) grain and biomass yields, and greenhouse gas emission. The biochar was produced through fast pyrolysis (500 to 600°C) of wood waste material; after pyrolysis, it had a pH of 5.6, ash content of 14.2%, and contained macronutrients (N, K, P, etc.). Biochar was initially applied at the rate of 21.28 Mg ha-1 followed by rototilling all the plots. Fertilizer and poultry litter (PL) treatments were then surface applied to plots with and without biochar amendment within each replication. An untreated control was also included. Biochar alone did not increase corn dry matter biomass, grain yield, and N, P, K uptake; however, these parameters were increased when biochar was combined with PL or chemical fertilizer. Poultry litter treatment produced significantly greater N2O and CO2 emissions, but the emissions decreased significantly when PL was combined with biochar. Total precipitation and moisture availability for the summer months varied considerably (286 to 476 mm) which potentially influenced corn yield. We conclude that this hardwood biochar did not possess chemical characteristics capable of improving corn productivity within the experimental timeframe or develop a positive impact on corn yield based on reactions with the specific soil chemical properties alone, but has potential when combined with PL or chemical fertilizer. However, more importantly, biochar did not negatively impact corn production.