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Sulphate leaching and sulphur balances of an organic crop rotation on three Danish soils

Eriksen, J.; Olesen, J.E. and Askegaard, M. (2002) Sulphate leaching and sulphur balances of an organic crop rotation on three Danish soils. European Journal of Agronomy, 17, pp. 1-9.

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Summary

Sulphate leaching may reduce the long-term possibility of maintaining the sulphur (S) supply of crops in low input farming systems. Sulphate leaching and S balances were investigated in an organic cereal crop rotation with barley (Hordeum vulgare), grass-clover (Lolium perenne/Trifolium repens and pratense), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) and barley/pea (Pisum sativum) in mixture at three sites during the first 3 years after conversion to organic farming. Sulphate leaching decreased significantly during the 3 years, and the concentration of drainage water was lowered 1.85.5 times in the third year. Similarly, the S-content of the crops decreased significantly over the years, reflecting lower soil S availability. Sulphur application to spring barley at all sites in Year 2 and at one site in Year 3 increased straw yield by 23% (P<0.01) and grain yield by 13% (NS) on average. Significant fertiliser-S response was restricted to the two sandy soils. Sulphate leaching was quantitatively the most important item affecting the S balance, since excess S was lost by leaching. The S-balance indicated that no substantial S-deficit may be expected in the longer term provided excess S is maintained in the system and the availability is synchronised with plant needs. Otherwise it will in the longer term be necessary on sandy soils to apply S in a plant-available form to avoid the negative effects of S deficiency on yield and quality of crops.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > IV.1 Availability and utilisation of potassium, phosphorus and sulphur
Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > IV.1 (EXUNIT) Experimental units for research in organic farming systems
Deposited By: Eriksen, Senior scientist Jørgen
ID Code:159
Deposited On:11 Oct 2002
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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