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Anaerobic digestion of dairy cattle slurry—long‑term effects on crop yields and chemical soil characteristics

Rittl, Tatiana; Pommeresche, Reidun; Johansen, Anders; Steinshamn, Håvard; Riley, Hugh and Løes, Anne-Kristin (2023) Anaerobic digestion of dairy cattle slurry—long‑term effects on crop yields and chemical soil characteristics. Org. Agr., 13, pp. 547-563.

[thumbnail of s13165-023-00447-0 (2).pdf] PDF - Published Version - English

Summary in the original language of the document

Renewable energy in the form of biogas can be produced by anaerobic digestion (AD) of animal manure. However, there is still a lack of knowledge on the long-term effects of AD-treated manure on soil characteristics and crop productivity, compared with untreated manure. A field experiment was established in a perennial grass-clover ley in 2011 to study the effects on important soil and crop characteristics when the slurry from a herd of organically managed dairy cows is anaerobically digested. While the rate of manure application affected soil concentrations of extractable nutrients and pH, these variables were unaffected by AD. Soil organic matter (SOM) concentrations decreased in all plots and faster on the plots with high intrinsic SOM. The decrease was similar with application of untreated (non-digested) slurry (US) and anaerobically digested slurry (ADS), and it was not affected by application rates. The general decline may be explained by the initial high SOM content, the long-term effect of drainage, and higher temperatures with climatic change. US and ADS gave similar yields of grassclover ley (2 cuts/year) and green fodder, on average 0.79 and 0.40 kg DM m−2, respectively. Clover yield was similar in manured treatments and the non-fertilized control. With respect to crop yields and chemical soil characteristics, long-term (10 years) effects of AD in an organic dairy cow farming system seem to be minor. The benefits of extracting energy from the slurry did not compromise grassland productivity or soil quality in the long term.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
grass clover
soil organic matter
organic agriculture
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University
Norway > NIBIO – Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
Norway > NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
Deposited By: F Rittl, Tatiana
ID Code:52795
Deposited On:14 Mar 2024 07:55
Last Modified:14 Mar 2024 07:55
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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