Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Compost can successfully replace mineral fertilizers in the nutrient management of commercial peach orchard

Published source details

Baldi E., Toselli M., Marcolini G., Quartieri M., Cirillo E., Innocenti a. & Marangoni B. (2010) Compost can successfully replace mineral fertilizers in the nutrient management of commercial peach orchard. Soil Use and Management, 26, 346-353


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Amend the soil with composts not otherwise specified Soil Fertility

A controlled, randomized, replicated experiment in 2001-2009 on silty-clay soil in Italy (Baldi et al. 2010) found 169% more soil organic matter in soil receiving 10 t/ha/year of compost compared to an unfertilized control, after 8 years. Soil receiving 5 t/ha/year of compost applied had 75% more organic matter compared to the control. Mineral fertilizers had no effect on organic matter levels. Soils receiving compost at 10 t/ha/year had higher microbial biomass (12 mg/g soil) and fruit yield (51 kg/tree) compared to the control (6.6 mg/g soil and 43 kg/tree, respectively). Six treatments replicated four times were applied to nectarine Prunus persica trees: (1) unfertilized control, (2) mineral fertilizer including phosphorus (100 kg/ha), potassium (200 kg/ha) and nitrogen (70 kg/ha), (3) cow manure (10 decreasing to 5 t/ha), (4) compost at planting then 5 t/ha/year, (5) compost at 5 t/ha/year, (6) compost at 10 t/ha/year. Soil samples were collected annually in September to 40 cm depth. Nectarine trees were spaced at 5 m between rows and 3.8 m between trees. Compost and manure were measured in tonnes of dry weight.

Crop production: Add manure to the soil Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated nectarine orchard in Italy found similar nectarine yields in plots with or without added manure. Crop yield: Similar nectarine yields were found in plots with or without added manure (33 vs 38 kg/tree). Methods: Four plots received 5–10 kg dry cow manure/ha, and four plots received no fertilizer. The manure was tilled into the soil (25 cm depth). Yield was measured in four trees/plot/year.

 

Crop production: Add compost to the soil Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated orchard in Italy found higher nectarine yields in plots with added compost, compared to plots without added compost. Crop yield: Higher yields were found in plots with added compost, in one of six comparisons (38 vs 26 kg/tree). Methods: There were four plots for each of three compost treatments (5 t/ha in May, 5 t/ha split into two applications, in May and September, or 10 t/ha split into two), and there were four control plots (no fertilizer; plot size not reported). The compost was made from domestic organic waste and urban pruning material (50% each). Compost was tilled into the soil (25 cm depth). Yield was measured in the four central trees of each plot, every year.

Crop production: Use organic fertilizer instead of inorganic Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated nectarine orchard in Italy found higher yield in plots with organic fertilizer added compared to inorganic fertilizers added. Crop yield: Higher nectarine yields were found in plots with organic fertilizer, compared to inorganic fertilizer, in one of eight comparisons (38 vs 28 kg/tree). Implementation options: Higher nectarine yields were found in plots with compost, compared to manure, in one of six comparisons (39 vs 33 kg/tree). Methods: There were four plots for each of four organic-fertilizer treatments (5 t compost/ha in May; 5 t/ha split into two applications, in May and September; 10 t/ha split into two; or 5–10 kg dry cow manure/ha), and there were four plots for inorganic fertilizer (70–130 kg N/ha, 100 kg P/ha, 200 kg K/ha; plot size not reported). The compost was made from domestic organic waste and urban pruning material (50% each). Fertilizers were tilled into the soil (25 cm depth).

 

Soil: Add manure to the soil Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated nectarine orchard in Italy found more potassium in plots with added manure, compared to plots without added manure. Organic matter: Similar amount of organic matter were found in plots with or without added manure (2–3% vs 2%). Nutrients: Similar amounts of ammonium (1–6 vs 2–6 mg/kg) and phosphorus (20 vs 13 mg/kg), and similar pH levels (pH 7.8) were found in plots with or without added manure. More potassium was found in plots with added manure (312 vs 227 mg/kg). Soil organisms: Similar amounts of microbial biomass (measured as carbon) were found in plots with or without added manure (2–13 vs 4–10 mg/g). Methods: Four plots received 5–10 kg dry cow manure/ha, and four plots received no fertilizer. The manure was tilled into the soil (25 cm depth). Soil samples were collected in September (3–40 cm depth for organic matter in 2001–2008 and phosphorus in 2006) and four times in spring and summer in 2008–2009 (0–80 cm depth for nitrogen, and 4–20 cm depth for microbial biomass).

 

Soil: Use organic fertilizer instead of inorganic Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated nectarine orchard in Italy found more organic matter, nutrients, and microbial biomass in soils with organic fertilizer, compared to inorganic fertilizer. Organic matter: More organic matter was found in soils with organic fertilizer, compared to inorganic fertilizer, in 11 of 32 comparisons (2–5% vs 1–2%). Nutrients: More nitrogen (ammonium), phosphorus, and potassium was found in soils with organic fertilizer, compared to inorganic (ammonium, in two of 28 comparisons: 10–15 vs 6–7 mg/kg; phosphorus, in one of four comparisons: 24 vs 14 mg/kg; potassium, in three of four comparisons (299–350 vs 234 mg/kg). Similar pH levels were found in plots with organic or inorganic fertilizer (pH 7.7–7.8 vs 7.8). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with organic fertilizer, compared to inorganic fertilizer, in 11 of 76 comparisons (5–22 vs 4–11 mg/g). Implementation options: More organic matter, nutrients, and microbial biomass was found in plots with compost, compared to manure (organic matter, in seven of 21 comparisons: 2–5% vs 2–3%; ammonium, in two of 21 comparisons: 10–14 vs 6 mg/kg; phosphorus, in one of three comparisons: 24 vs 20 mg/kg; potassium, in one of three comparisons: 350 vs 312 mg/kg; microbial biomass, in nine of 60 comparisons: 5–22 vs 2–13 mg/g). Similar pH levels were found in plots with compost or manure (pH 7.7 vs 7.8). Methods: There were four plots for each of four organic-fertilizer treatments (5 t compost/ha in May; 5 t/ha split into two applications, in May and September; 10 t/ha split into two; or 5–10 kg dry cow manure/ha), and there were four plots for inorganic fertilizer (70–130 kg N/ha, 100 kg P/ha, 200 kg K/ha; plot size not reported). The compost was made from domestic organic waste and urban pruning material (50% each). Fertilizers were tilled into the soil (25 cm depth). Soil samples were collected in September (3–40 cm depth for organic matter in 2001–2008 and phosphorus in 2006) and four times in spring and summer in 2008–2009 (0–80 cm depth for nitrogen, and 4–20 cm depth for microbial biomass).

 

Soil: Add compost to the soil Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2009 in an irrigated nectarine orchard in Italy found more organic matter, nutrients, and soil organisms in plots with added compost, compared to plots without added compost. Organic matter: More organic matter was found in plots with added compost, in 11 of 24 comparisons (2–5% vs 1.5%). Nutrients: More nitrogen was found in soils with added compost (ammonium, in four of 21 comparisons: 7–15 vs 4–6 mg/kg dry soil; nitrate, in at least eight of 84 comparisons: results not clearly reported). More phosphorus and potassium were found in plots with added compost (phosphorus, in one of three comparisons in 2006: 24 vs 13 mg P/kg dry soil; potassium, in two of three comparisons: 299–350 vs 227 mg K/kg dry soil). Similar pH levels were found in plots with or without added compost (pH 7.8 vs 7.7). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in plots with added compost, in 14 of 60 comparisons (5–22 vs 4–10 mg C/g dry soil). Soil erosion and aggregation: Similar water-stability was found in soils with or without added compost (13% vs 14–17% of soil aggregates were water-stable). Methods: There were four plots for each of three compost treatments (5 t/ha in May, 5 t/ha split into two applications, in May and September, or 10 t/ha split into two), and there were four control plots (no fertilizer; plot size not reported). The compost was made from domestic organic waste and urban pruning material (50% each). Compost was tilled into the soil (25 cm depth). Soil samples were collected in September (3–40 cm depth for organic matter in 2001–2008 and phosphorus in 2006; 5–40 cm depth for aggregate stability in 2008) and four times in spring and summer in 2008–2009 (0–80 cm depth for nitrogen, and 4–20 cm depth for microbial biomass).