Effects of plant and animal waste-based compost amendments on the soil food web, soil properties, and yield and quality of fresh market and processing carrot cultivars

in Nematology
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A substantial knowledge gap exists on how compost source and rate of application affect nematode community-based soil food web structure, soil health, soil physiochemistry, and crop yield and quality in short- and full-season crops. We tested effects of plant (PC)- and animal (AC)-based compost at 1, 1.5 and 2× the standard nitrogen (N) rate on processing carrot ‘Cupar’ and fresh market ‘Sugarsnax 54’ (short-season crop) over 2-3 growing seasons. Low abundance of nematodes and domination of herbivores and bacterivores indicate that the field is biologically stressed. While outcomes of most measured parameters varied by compost source and/or rate, an increase in soil food web structure with time was most consistent. A combination of the variable outcomes and correlation patterns suggest that a multifactor analysis may best quantify compost-driven changes in soil ecosystems as opposed to looking for changes in a single parameter.

Effects of plant and animal waste-based compost amendments on the soil food web, soil properties, and yield and quality of fresh market and processing carrot cultivars

in Nematology

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Figures

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    Changes of sandy clay loam soil food web conditions between planting (May, June) and harvest (August, October) in plots planted with ‘Cupar’ and ‘Sugarsnax 54’ and amended with plant (PC) and animal (AC) compost, standard urea and non-amended control. The ‘Sugarsnax 54’ was conducted in 2012 and 2013 and that of ‘Cupar’ in 2012, 2013 and 2014 growing seasons. In ‘Cupar’, numbers 1, 2 and 3 refer to PC rates of 135, 203 and 270 kg N ha−1, respectively, 4, 5 and 6 refer to AC rates of 135, 203 and 270 kg N ha−1, respectively, and 7 and 8 refer to urea and control, respectively. In ‘Sugarsnax 54’, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 refer to PC rates of 112, 168 and 224 kg N ha−1, respectively, 4, 5 and 6 refer to AC rates of 112, 168 and 224 kg N ha−1, respectively, and 7 and 8 refers to urea and control, respectively. The four quadrants (A, B, C, D) describing the soil food web condition are as referred to in the text (Ferris et al., 2001). Treatments with SI values significantly increased from 50% according to a one-tailed t-test at α=0.05. Note that the treatments showing significant increase in ‘Cupar’ (full-season) treatments are only in the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons.

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    Effect of either 112, 168 and 224 kg N ha−1 from plant (PC) and animal (AC) compost, applied separately, 112 kg N ha−1 standard urea (UR) or non-amended control (CK) on yield and quality of ‘Sugarsnax 54’ in sandy clay loam soil in 2012-2013 growing seasons. Means with different lower case letters within the same quality category are significantly different. Effect of treatments on total carrot yield is indicated by capital letters.

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    Multiple factor analysis of the relationships among (A) abundance of nematode trophic and c-p groups (Gc1), and soil physiochemical parameters (Gc2), and (B) soil food web indices and trophic group ratios (Gc1), soil physiochemical parameters (Gc2), and growth, yield and quality (Gc3) of ‘Cupar’ after treatments with plant (PC) and animal (AC) compost, standard urea (UR) and non-amended control (CK) in 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. Dimension 1 (Dim 1) represents the first and Dimension 2 (Dim 2) the second best summary of variability of the information. Nematode trophic groups were bacterivores (BV), fungivores (FV), omnivores (OV), predators (PR), sum of omnivores and predators (OP), herbivores (HV), non-herbivore (FL) and total nematodes (TL) and c-p groups were BV1 (c-p 1 bacterivores), BV2 (c-p 2 bacterivores), BV34 (sum of c-p 3 and c-p 4 bacterivores), HV2 (c-p 2 herbivores) and HV345 (sum of c-p 3 to c-p 5 herbivores). Soil physiochemical parameters were soil pH (pH), percent organic matter (OM), nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), moisture percent (MO), bulk density (BD), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and porosity (PO). Soil food web indices and trophic group ratios were ((FV/BV) = FV) and ((FV + BV)/HV = FBP). Growth, yield and quality parameters were stunting (STU), forks (FO), rots (RO), cracks (CRA), marketable (MC), total unmarketable carrots (UNC) and root dry-to-shoot dry weight ratio (RDSD). For detailed description, see Materials and methods.

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    Multiple factor analysis of the relationships among A) abundance of nematode trophic and c-p groups (Gc1), and soil physiochemical parameters (Gc2), and B) soil food web indices and trophic group ratios (Gc1), soil physiochemical parameters (Gc2), and growth, yield and quality (Gc3) of ‘Sugarsnax 54’ after treatments with plant (PC) and animal (AC) compost, standard urea (UR) and non-amended control (CK) in 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. Dimension 1 (Dim 1) represents the first and Dimension 2 (Dim 2) the second best summary of variability of the information. Nematode trophic groups were bacterivores (BV), fungivores (FV), omnivores (OV), predators (PR), sum of omnivores and predators (OP), herbivores (HV), non-herbivore (FL) and total nematodes (TL) and c-p groups were BV1 (c-p 1 bacterivores), BV2 (c-p 2 bacterivores), BV34 (sum of c-p 3 and c-p 4), HV2 (c-p 2 herbivores) and HV345 (sum of c-p 3 to c-p 5 herbivores). Soil physiochemical parameters were soil pH (pH), percent organic matter (OM), nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), moisture percent (MO), bulk density (BD), cation exchange capacity (CEC) and porosity (PO). Soil food web indices and trophic group ratios were ((FV/BV) = FV) and ((FV + BV)/HV = FBP), fertility index (FI). Growth, yield and quality parameters were stunting (STU), forks (FO), rots (RO), cracks (CRA), marketable (MC), total unmarketable carrots (UNC) and root dry-to-shoot dry weight ratio (RDSD). For a detailed description see Materials and methods.

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