Nitrogen Cycling from Fall Applications of Biosolids to Winter Small Grains
Bamber, Kevin William
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Environmental concerns about winter nitrogen (N) leaching loss limit the amount of biosolids applied to winter small grains in Virginia. Ten field studies were established 2012-2014 in Virginia to determine the agronomic and environmental feasibility of fall biosolids applications to soft red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Eight studies were located in the Coastal Plain physiographic province and two in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province. The effects of eight biosolids and urea N treatments on 1) biomass production at Zadoks growth stage (GS) 25-30, 2) soil inorganic N at GS 25-30, 3) soil mineralizable N at GS 25-30,4) N use efficiency (NUE) at GS 58, 5) grain yield, 6) end-of-season soil inorganic N, and 7) estimated N recovery were studied. Anaerobically digested (AD) and lime stabilized (LS) biosolids were fall applied at estimated plant available N (PAN) rates of 100 kg N ha-1 and 50 kg N ha-1. The 50 kg N ha-1 biosolids treatments were supplemented with 50 kg N ha-1 as urea in spring. Urea N was split applied at 0, 50, 100 and 150 kg N ha-1, with 1/3 applied in fall and 2/3 in spring. Biomass at GS 25-30 increased with urea N rate and biosolids always resulted in equal or greater biomass than urea. Soil mineralizable N at GS 25-30 rarely responded to fall urea or biosolids N rate, regardless of biosolids type. Biosolids and urea applied at the agronomic N rate resulted in equal grain yield and estimated N recovery in soils where N leaching loss risk was low, regardless of biosolids type or application strategy. Lime stabilized biosolids and biosolids/urea split N application increased grain yield and estimated N recovery in soils with high or moderate N leaching loss risk. Therefore, AD and LS biosolids can be fall-applied to winter wheat at the full agronomic N rate in soils with low N leaching loss risk, while LS biosolids could be applied to winter wheat at the full agronomic N rate in soils with moderate or high N leaching loss risk.
- Masters Theses