Compost Improves Plant Production
Yield increase of 50% when compost was applied
Research has been done in the Canterbury area of New Zealand where municipal composting schemes use around 50,000 tonnes of “green waste” to make 25,000 tonnes of compost each year. “Plants need nitrogen and other nutrients to grow,” said Plant & Food Research organization scientist Abie Horrocks. “These nutrients and high levels of carbon are present in compost and adding it to soil boosts production. Because it can also supply the plants with nitrogen, a reduction in nitrogen fertilizer application is also possible without compromising yields.”
By adding compost and reducing nitrogen fertilizer by one-third the recommended rate, crops were show to yield 10 percent greater than standard practice field crops. Applying compost without reducing nitrogen fertilizer resulted in productivity increases of 14 percent over a three-year cropping rotation. When used in the production of forage crops, a yield increase of close to 50 percent was achieved when compost was applied.
Rich Keller, Editor, Ag Professional | May 1, 2013