Impact of organic amendments and compost extracts on tomato production and storability in agroecological systemsR. Ghorbani1, A. Koocheki1, M. Jahan1 and G.A. Asadi2
1 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, PO Box 91775-1163, Mashhad, Iran
2 Shiravan College of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Shiravan, Iran
Accepted 8 January 2008 ; published online 22 March 2008
Abstract - The sustainability of a farm system greatly relies on fertilizers and other inputs. Soil factors such as texture and local rainfall, along with management-related factors such as soil organic matter, aggregate stability and agronomic practices, have much greater influence on the sustainability of any given farm than do the type or amount of soil amendments. Growers use a wide variety of practices to maintain or improve soil health in organic vegetable production systems. These practices generally are part of long-term, site-specific management programs that aim at developing fertile and biologically active soils that readily capture and store water and nutrients, have good tilth, and suppress plant diseases. Field experiments were conducted in 2005 and 2006 in Mashhad, Iran, to study the effects of organic amendments, synthetic fertilizers and compost extracts on crop health, productivity and storability of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Treatments included different fertilizers of cattle, sheep and poultry manures, green-waste and household composts and chemical fertilizers of urea and superphosphate; and five aqueous extracts from cattle manure, poultry manures, green-waste, and household composts plus water as control. Our results show that application of poultry manure showed lower disease incidence, as shown by 80% healthy tomato, compared with the other fertilizers. However, the organic fertilizers used did not give higher yields compared with chemical fertilizers. Sheep manure and chemical fertilizers led to the highest total tomato yield. Marketable yield was highest in poultry manures, of 16 t/ha, and lowest in chemical fertilizer, of 7 t/ha, 6 weeks after storage. The effect of aqueous extracts was not significant on either crop health or tomato yield and the results were inconsistent. The compost made of poultry manure therefore appears to be a promising ecological alternative to classical fertilizers.
Key words: compost / crop health / lycopersicum esculentum / manure / marketable yield
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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008