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Agronomy 2016, 6(2), 35; doi:10.3390/agronomy6020035

Municipal Compost as a Nutrient Source for Organic Crop Production in New Zealand

Sustainable Production Portfolio, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Lincoln, Canterbury 7608, New Zealand
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Academic Editor: Francesco Montemurro
Received: 27 April 2016 / Revised: 16 May 2016 / Accepted: 17 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
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Abstract

About 1% of New Zealand farmland is managed organically. Nitrogen is the nutrient most likely to limit organic crop production. A potential solution is incorporation of compost to supply N. About 726,000 t of municipal garden and kitchen wastes are sent to landfills annually. Composting offers a means of reducing the impact of landfill wastes on the wider environment. Organically certified compost (N content typically 2% to 2.5%) is available from some municipal composting plants. To be effectively used on organic farms, the rate of N release (mineralization) must be known. Laboratory incubations were conducted to quantify mineralization of compost N under controlled (temperature and moisture) conditions. Nitrogen availability and crop yields from a one-off application of compost (25–100 t·ha−1) were also assessed in two field trials (using cereal and forage crops). The results suggested that a relatively small part (13%–23%) of compost N was used by the crops in 3–4 years. Much of this was mineral N present at the time of application. Mineralization rates in the laboratory and field studies were much lower than expected from published work or compost C:N ratio (considered an important indicator of N mineralization potential of composts). View Full-Text
Keywords: municipal compost; decomposition; nitrogen mineralization; immobilization; crop N recovery; nutrient management; phosphate availability municipal compost; decomposition; nitrogen mineralization; immobilization; crop N recovery; nutrient management; phosphate availability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Horrocks, A.; Curtin, D.; Tregurtha, C.; Meenken, E. Municipal Compost as a Nutrient Source for Organic Crop Production in New Zealand. Agronomy 2016, 6, 35.

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