Biochar and biochar-compost as soil amendments: effects on peanut yield, soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical North Queensland, Australia

Agegnehu, Getachew, Bass, Adrian M., Nelson, Paul N., Muirhead, Brian, Wright, Graeme, and Bird, Michael A. (2015) Biochar and biochar-compost as soil amendments: effects on peanut yield, soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical North Queensland, Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 213. pp. 72-85.

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This study investigated the effects of biochar and compost, applied individually or together, on soil fertility, peanut yield and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a Ferralsol in north Queensland, Australia. The treatments were (1) inorganic fertilizer only (F) as a control; (2) 10 t ha−1 biochar + F (B + F); (3) 25 t compost + F (Com + F) ha−1; (4) 2.5 t B ha−1 + 25 t Com ha−1 mixed on site + F; and (5) 25 t ha−1 co-composted biochar-compost + F (COMBI + F). Application of B and COMBI increased seed yield by 23% and 24%, respectively. Biochar, compost and their mixtures significantly improved plant nutrient availability and use, which appeared critical in improving peanut performance. Soil organic carbon (SOC) increased from 0.93% (F only) to 1.25% (B amended), soil water content (SWC) from 18% (F only) to over 23% (B amended) and CEC from 8.9 cmol(+)/kg (F only) to over 10.3 cmol(+)/kg (organic amended). Peanut yield was significantly positively correlated with leaf chlorophyll content, nodulation number (NN), leaf nutrient concentration, SOC and SWC for the organic amendments. Fluxes of CO2 were highest for the F treatment and lowest for the COMBI treatment, whereas N2O flux was highest for the F treatment and all organic amended plots reduced N2O flux relative to the control. Principal component analysis indicates that 24 out of 30 characters in the first principal component (PRIN1) individually contributed substantial effects to the total variation between the treatments. Our study concludes that applications of B, Com, B + Com or COMBI have strong potential to, over time, improve SOC, SWC, soil nutrient status, peanut yield and abate GHG fluxes on tropical Ferralsols.

Item ID: 41152
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2305
Keywords: biochar; carbon sequestration; co-composted biochar-compost; CO2 and N2O fluxes; ferralsol; soil fertility
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Jenberu, Getachew Agegnehu (2017) Biochar, compost and biochar-compost: effects on crop performance, soil quality and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical agricultural soils. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
Projects and Grants: DAFF Carbon Farming Initiative, Filling the Research Gap Program (project 01203.023)
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2016 01:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050304 Soil Chemistry (excl Carbon Sequestration Science) @ 40%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040204 Organic Geochemistry @ 20%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8202 Horticultural Crops > 820299 Horticultural Crops not elsewhere classified @ 40%
82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8298 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production > 829802 Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Plant Production @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils @ 30%
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