Production and Use of Compost and Vermicompost in Sustainable Farming Systems

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dc.contributor.advisor Noah N. Ranells, Committee Co-Chair en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Frank J. Louws, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor J. Paul Mueller, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Nancy G. Creamer, Committee Co-Chair en_US McClintock, Nathan C. en_US 2010-04-02T17:55:43Z 2010-04-02T17:55:43Z 2004-04-13 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-04122004-192529 en_US
dc.description.abstract Compost use in agriculture has gained popularity in recent decades as public concern over the environmental impact of synthetic inputs in agriculture has increased. Compost application has been associated with improvements to soil physical and chemical properties. Thesis research focused on compost production and utilization in an organic farming system in North Carolina and in a smallholder subsistence farming system in semi-arid West Africa. Part 1: An experiment was conducted at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) in Goldsboro, NC, to compare methods of composting separated solid swine waste and various rates of wheat straw. Straw was chopped (<10 cm) or unchopped and mixed with manure at five different rates and placed in piles (1m&#179;) for composting. Sub-samples of each mixture were stocked with earthworms (Eisenia fetida) for vermicomposting. After 3 weeks, additional sub-samples were removed from piles and stocked with worms. At Weeks 3, 6, and 10, chop significantly affected C and N concentrations and C:N ratios in both vermicomposting treatments, generally in high-straw mixtures. By Week 13, chop was no longer significant. Overall, worms were not able to degrade straw fractions of mixtures that were not pre-composted. Part 2: An experiment was conducted at a site in the North Carolina Piedmont (Pittsboro) and another in the Coastal Plain (Goldsboro) to evaluate the integration of compost with cover crops, both common sources of fertility in organic farming systems. Treatments were: poultry litter compost (COMP), crimson clover (CLOV), clover + compost (MIX), and a control fertilized with soymeal (SOY). COMP and CLOV plots were also amended with soymeal to equalize N rates across treatments. Treatment differences did not affect sweet corn height at 5 or 7 weeks after planting (WAP) or biomass (DM) accumulation at 5 WAP at either site. At Goldsboro, CLOV yielded 22% more DM at harvest than COMP and 31% more marketable ears. Total yield of COMP plots was 22% less than CLOV while marketable yield was 20 to 31% less than CLOV, MIX, or SOY treatments. Release of plant available nitrogen (PAN) from decomposing clover (C:N 11.1) may have been slower than from compost (C:N 8.1) or soymeal (C:N 6.2), coinciding with the period of maximum uptake by corn plants. Soil inorganic N (SIN) concentration was greater at Pittsboro, likely due to method of incorporation (roto-tilled vs. disked) and soil type. In a lab incubation of both soils (and which did not include soymeal), SIN in Goldsboro MIX treatments was greater than the sum of CLOV and COMP SIN, suggesting a priming effect, likely masked by soymeal in the field experiment. Part 3: The J&#243;&#243;r (Dior) soils of Senegal's Peanut Basin are inherently low in OM, limiting yields of millet and other crops and threatening the food security of smallholders. A series of focus groups and interviews were conducted in eight villages to characterize the site-specific fertility management practiced by farmers in the Peanut Basin. On-site measurements revealed little significant difference between the effects of compost and manure on peanut and millet growth, but significant increases over unamended areas. Similarly, chemical analysis revealed increased cation exchange capacity and nutrient concentrations in soils amended with compost or manure. Similarities in the chemical characteristics of compost and traditional pile manure (s&#235;ntaare) suggest that development workers could emphasize improved pile management rather than promoting more labor-intensive composting. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject Pennisetum glaucum en_US
dc.subject organic amendments en_US
dc.subject Zea mays en_US
dc.subject indigenous knowledge en_US
dc.subject local land use classification en_US
dc.subject particle size en_US
dc.subject N mineralization en_US
dc.subject carbon-to-nitrogen ratio en_US
dc.subject soil inorganic nitrogen en_US
dc.subject nitrogen dynamics en_US
dc.subject carbon dynamics en_US
dc.subject waste management en_US
dc.subject nutrient cycling en_US
dc.subject organic matter en_US
dc.subject Arachis hypogaea en_US
dc.subject Trifolium incarnatum en_US
dc.subject Triticum aestivum en_US
dc.subject appropriate technology en_US
dc.title Production and Use of Compost and Vermicompost in Sustainable Farming Systems en_US MS en_US thesis en_US Crop Science en_US

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