OSCII Activity A.7

Well-established commercial organic farming: Effect of rate of composted manure application on soil mineral nutrients, yield, and crop nutrient uptake

Activity summary

The proposed activity will develop a process in the form of recommendations for improved efficiency of use of composted manure in commercial mixed farming with organic production. The proposed activity will strategically address industry priorities.

We will determine the patterns though time of soil and plant nutrient concentrations that correspond to successful field crop production in commercial organic agriculture. Samples will be taken at frequent intervals for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in soil and plants. Variable rates of application of manure compost will test the impact of this amendment, as practiced in the commercial study system, to provide N and P to the organic crops. Soil and plant levels of N and P through time in response to variable rates of the composted manure input will reveal the importance of the quantity of manure compost added in relation to crop demand through the rotation sequence. Additional information generated by the study will include comparison of methods of soil test P as predictors of yield under organic production, and an evaluation of the temporal pattern of mineral N release following two separate red clover incorporation events.

Work will be conducted on-farm, in collaboration with Ian Grossart, owner of Howpark Farm. Sample collection, sample analysis, and data handling will adhere to standards of professional agricultural research. Extension of results to the user community and stakeholders will be significant.

Activity researchers

Name Affiliation
Terence McGonigle, Activity Leader Brandon University
Ian Grossart Howpark Farm

Contributing partners