Pig Compost Use on Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Soils and Corn Plants


The use of pig compost (PC) in agricultural land has increased in Chile in the last years. This organic amendment is a valuable nutritional source for crops, but its applying must be done in a controlled manner since it exhibited high copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. A short-term field experiment was conducted out to study the effects of increasing PC rates on the production and quality corn crop in two soils located at south central Chile. Five treatments were evaluated: control without fertilization (C), conventional fertilization (CF) (350 kg N ha-1), and three increasing PC rates (15.33, 30.65, and 61.31 Mg·ha-1, corresponding to 350, 700, and 1400 kg N ha-1, respectively) in a split plot design with four replicates. The overall results indicated that dry matter production, grain yield, and plant Zn and Cu concentrations were similar among fertilization sources and rates. Extractable soil Zn concentration exhibited a rate-related increase of PC in both locations, while Cu concentration exhibited this behavior only at the soil located in Chillan. Nevertheless, the values obtained were below of those considered phytotoxic levels. Therefore, the contribution of Zn and Cu through PC applying at different rates to the soils studied showed a slight affect in soil extractable Zn and Cu values without negatively effects on quantity and quality corn crop. The organic amendment applied can be a good and cheaper substitute to conventional fertilization, although further monitoring of Zn and Cu soil levels should be carried out to avoid any environmental risk.

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Hirzel, J. and Walter, I. (2015) Pig Compost Use on Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Soils and Corn Plants. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 524-536. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.64057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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