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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Biogas Digestate and Mineral Fertilisation on the Soil Properties and Yield and Nutritional Value of Switchgrass Forage

1
Department of Plant Cultivation Technology and Commodity, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, 15 Akademicka Street, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
2
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Bromatology, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, 13 Akademicka Street, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040490
Received: 5 February 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 25 March 2020 / Published: 1 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility Management for Better Crop Production)
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a three-year application of digestate from an agricultural biogas plant on the physicochemical properties of highly acidic pHKCl 4.4 ± 0.23, silty loam soils with low macronutrient content and on the yield and nutritional value of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) biomass harvested for green fodder. The experiment included the following treatments: (1) O (control)—no fertilisation, (2) NPK—mineral fertilisation with (in kg ha−1) 150 N, 53.0 P and 105 K, (3) biogas digestate at 30 m3 ha−1 and (4) biogas digestate at 60 m3 ha−1. The higher application rate of biogas digestate significantly reduced soil acidity to pHKCl 4.9 ± 0.18 and improved its sorption properties. It also increased the soil organic matter content from 5.6 ± 0.21 to 6.4 ± 0.22 g Corg kg−1 and of K and Zn. The higher level of biogas digestate significantly increased switchgrass yield to 5.15 ± 0.26 t ha−1. The lower application rate of biogas digestate resulted in forage yield of 4.30 ± 0.20 t ha−1 comparable to that obtained after mineral fertilisation (4.33 ± 0.22 t ha−1). Following application of mineral fertilisers and the higher level of biogas digestate, the number of panicles per plant (150 ± 2.49–157 ± 0.6.17), panicle height (107 ± 1.98–114 ± 2.08), crude ash content (61.2 ± 0.43–65.5 ± 0.38) and protein content (106 ± 0.59–92 ± 1.11) in the switchgrass biomass from the first cut were higher than in the case of unfertilised soil (110 ± 3.81, 93 ± 1.32, 55.5 ± 0.40, 80.3 ± 0.37). The use of mineral fertilisers and biogas digestate increased the content of protein, P and Mg in biomass from the second cut. The results suggest that the use of digestate improved the physicochemical properties of highly acidic soil and increased the yield of switchgrass forage without diminishing its nutritional value. View Full-Text
Keywords: switchgrass; digestate; yield; soil properties; nutritional value; mineral composition switchgrass; digestate; yield; soil properties; nutritional value; mineral composition
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Głowacka, A.; Szostak, B.; Klebaniuk, R. Effect of Biogas Digestate and Mineral Fertilisation on the Soil Properties and Yield and Nutritional Value of Switchgrass Forage. Agronomy 2020, 10, 490.

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