Phosphorus availability and early corn growth response in soil amended with Turkey manure ash

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Incinerating turkey manure is a new option in the USA to generate renewable energy and to eliminate environmental problems associated with manure stockpiling. Incineration produces turkey manure ash (TMA) with a nutrient content of 43 g phosphorus (P) kg-1 and 100 g potassium (K) kg-1. We conducted a greenhouse pot study using a low P (6 mg kg-1) and high K (121 mg kg-1) soil/sand mixture with a 7.0 pH to evaluate early growth response of corn (Zea mays L.) to TMA. A control and five rates based on P (5.6, 10.9, 16.5, 21.9, and 27.2 mg kg-1) and respective K contents in TMA were compared with triple-superphosphate and potassium chloride fertilizer. Plant height and stalk thickness at 24 and 31 days after emergence (DAE) were greatest with the fertilizer, but no differences were detected at the final sampling (52 DAE). Regardless of nutrient source, plant biomass increased with P rate. Because of faster initial plant development, corn dry matter 52 DAE was 15 to 20% greater with fertilizer than with TMA. Corn tissue P concentration was greater with TMA than with fertilizer, but P uptake was similar. Tissue micronutrient concentrations were greatest for the control. Bray 1 P appeared to extract excessive amounts of P in TMA-amended soil, whereas soil P levels with the Olsen extractant provided an estimate of plant-available P that was consistent with plant response. Based on this first approximation, we conclude that TMA is a potential source of P for field crops. Field studies are required to determine recommended application rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1382
Number of pages14
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Bray P
  • Early corn growth
  • Olsen P
  • Phosphorus
  • Turkey manure ash


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