Effects of different manures

Research publications concerning biodynamics
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Effects of different manures

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Effects of traditional and biodynamic farmyard manure amendment on yields, soil chemical, biochemical and biological properties in a long-term field experiment

Johann G. Zaller . Ulrich Köpke

Abstract We studied the effects of applications of
traditionally composted farmyard manure (FYM) and
two types of biodynamically composted FYM over 9
years on soil chemical properties, microbial biomass and
respiration, dehydrogenase and saccharase activities, decomposition
rates and root production under grass-clover,
activity and biomass of earthworms under wheat, and
yields in a grass-clover, potatoes, winter wheat, field
beans, spring wheat, winter rye crop rotation. The
experiment was conducted near Bonn, on a Fluvisol
using a randomised complete block design (n=6). Our
results showed that plots which received either prepared or
non-prepared FYM (30 Mg ha−1 year−1) had significantly
increased soil pH, P and K concentrations, microbial
biomass, dehydrogenase activity, decomposition (cotton
strips), earthworm cast production and altered earthworm
community composition than plots without FYM application.
Application of FYM did not affect the soil C/N ratio,
root length density, saccharase activity, microbial basal
respiration, metabolic quotient and crop yields. The
biodynamic preparation of FYM with fermented residues
of six plant species (6 g Mg−1 FYM) significantly
decreased soil microbial basal respiration and metabolic
quotient compared to non-prepared FYM or FYM
prepared with only Achillea. The biodynamic preparation
did not affect soil microbial biomass, dehydrogenase
activity and decomposition during 62 days. However, after
100 days, decomposition was significantly faster in plots
which received completely prepared FYM than in plots
which received no FYM, FYM without preparations or
FYM with the Achillea preparation. Furthermore, the
application of completely prepared FYM led to significantly
higher biomass and abundance of endogeic or
anecic earthworms than in plots where non-prepared FYM
was applied.