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Cattle effluents, either composted or bio-digested by Black Soldier Fly larvae, in the fertilization of ryegrass in sandy soils

Open Access Journal of Science
Regina Menino,1 Ivã Lopes,2,3 José N Semedo,4,5 Paula Scotti-Campos,4,5 Daniel Murta,2,3,6 Amélia Castelo-Branco,1 Cecília Nestler,7 Olga Moreira8,9,10

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The relative agronomic performance of two organic fertilizers - effluents from intensive cattle farming, after composting either by traditional aerobic methods (compost) or by bio-digestion by larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens, BSF) (frass) - in the growth of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) on a sandy soil was evaluated. For this purpose, a pot trial was conducted in a semi-controlled greenhouse. Eight treatments were defined, with four treatments using the compost and four treatments using frass (with a 10% nitroamoniacal nitrogen supplementation in all treatments), in addition to a negative control without fertilization, and a positive control with exclusively chemical nitroamoniacal fertilization. Regarding the biomass production, the BSF frass displayed a higher potential than the compost, with a significantly higher production from an N endowment equivalent to 280 kg ha-1 (252 kg organic N + 28 kg mineral N). While the yields obtained with compost were stable when 350 kg ha-1 (315 kg organic N + 35 kg mineral N) were provided, the yields obtained with BSF frass revealed a tendency to continue to progress with higher doses. This could be justified by the fact that the P2 O5 and K2 O content of BSF frass is significantly higher than that of the compost, and these nutrients continued to be mineralized over time. Furthermore, the obtained results confirm the potentiating effect of mineral fertilizers in the maximization of biomass production, when associated with organic fertilizers in adequate proportions. In addition, it was verified that the addition of frass enhanced the water use by plants, which was significantly higher than the treatments with compost, regardless of the N endowment. It was concluded that mixing chemical and organic fertilizers positively impacts soil fertility and the sustainability of the production as a whole, by increasing productivities in a sustainable way.


mineralization of organic nitrogen, cultivation on sandy soils, agricultural production