Nitrate and Phosphate Leaching under Turfgrass Fertilized with a Squid-based Organic Fertilizer
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Consumer demand for cleaned squid generates a substantial amount of waste that must be properly disposed of, creating an economic burden on processors. A potential solution to this problem involves converting squid by-products into an organic fertilizer, for which there is growing demand. Because fertilizer application to lawns can increase the risk of nutrient contamination of groundwater, we quantified leaching of NO3–N and PO4–P from perennial ryegrass turf (Lolium perenne L.) amended with two types of fertilizer: squid-based (SQ) and synthetic (SY). Field plots were established on an Enfield silt loam, and liquid (L) and granular (G) fertilizer formulations of squid and synthetic fertilizers were applied at 0, 48, 146, and 292 kg N ha−1 year−1. Levels of NO3–N and PO4–P in soil pore water from a depth of 60 cm were determined periodically during the growing season in 2008 and 2009. Pore water NO3–N levels were not significantly different among fertilizer type or formulation within an application rate throughout the course of the study. The concentration of NO3–N remained below the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 mg L−1 until midSeptember 2009, when values above the MCL were observed for SQG at all application rates, and for SYL at the high application rate. Annual mass losses of NO3–N were below the estimated inputs (10 kg N ha−1 year−1) from atmospheric deposition except for the SQG and SYL treatments applied at 292 kg N ha−1 year−1, which had losses of 13.2 and 14.9 kg N ha−1 year−1, respectively. Pore water PO4–P levels ranged from 0 to 1.5 mg P L−1 and were not significantly different among fertilizer type or formulation within an application rate. Our results indicate that N and P losses from turf amended with squid-based fertilizer do not differ from those amended with synthetic fertilizers or unfertilized turf. Although organic in nature, squid-based fertilizer does not appear to be more—or less—environmentally benign than synthetic fertilizers.
KeywordsLeaching Turf Perennial ryegrass Nitrate Phosphate Organic fertilizer Synthetic fertilizer
We are grateful for the assistance of the Turf Farm staff, particularly Gregory Fales, for support and cooperation with field experiments, and to Janet Atoyan for technical help. Provision of financial assistance to J.C.F. by the University of Rhode Island Turfgrass Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. This study was funded in part by a grant from the Rhode Island SeaGrant College Program (Project No. R/OF-0810-2-53) and by the Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station (Contribution # 5274).
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