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Aggregate stability and associated C and N in a silty loam soil as affected by organic material inputs

LONG, Pan, SUI, Peng, GAO, Wang-sheng, WANG, Bin-bin, HUANG, Jian-xiong, YAN, Peng, ZOU, Juan-xiu, YAN, Ling-ling, CHEN, Yuan-quan
Journal of integrative agriculture 2015 v.14 no.4 pp. 774-787
aggregate stability, agricultural land, biogas, carbon, fertilizer rates, mineral fertilizers, mushrooms, nitrogen content, pig manure, silt loam soils, soil aggregates, soil aggregation, soil quality, straw, wines, China
To make recycling utilization of organic materials produced in various agricultural systems, five kinds of organic materials were applied in a field test, including crop straw (CS), biogas residue (BR), mushroom residue (MR), wine residue (WR), pig manure (PM), with a mineral fertilizer (CF) and a no-fertilizer (CK) treatment as a control. Our objectives were: i) to quantify the effects of organic materials on soil C and N accumulation; ii) to evaluate the effects of organic materials on soil aggregate stability, along with the total organic carbon (TOC), and N in different aggregate fractions; and iii) to assess the relationships among the organic material components, soil C and N, and C, N in aggregate fractions. The trial was conducted in Wuqiao County, Hebei Province, China. The organic materials were incorporated at an equal rate of C, and combined with a mineral fertilizer in amounts of 150 kg N ha−1, 26 kg P ha−1 and 124 kg K ha−1 respectively during each crop season of a wheat-maize rotation system. The inputted C quantity of each organic material treatment was equivalent to the total amount of C contained in the crop straw harvested in CS treatement in the previous season. TOC, N, water-stable aggregates, and aggregate-associated TOC and N were investigated. The results showed that organic material incorporation increased soil aggregation and stabilization. On average, the soil macroaggregate proportion increased by 14%, the microaggregate proportion increased by 3%, and mean-weight diameter (MWD) increased by 20%. TOC content followed the order of PM>WR>MR>BR>CS>CK>CF; N content followed the order WR>PM>MR>BR>CS>CF>CK. No significant correlation was found between TOC, N, and the quality of organic material. Soil silt and clay particles contained the largest part of TOC, whereas the small macroaggregate fraction was the most sensitive to organic materials. Our results indicate that PM and WR exerted better effects on soil C and N accumulation, followed by MR and BR, suggesting that organic materials from ex situ farmland could promote soil quality more as compared to straw returned in situ.