Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 108, Issue 2, pp 149–161 | Cite as

Agronomic effectiveness of an organically enhanced nitrogen fertilizer

  • John H. Winings
  • Xinhua Yin
  • Sampson Agyin-Birikorang
  • Upendra Singh
  • Joaquin Sanabria
  • Hubert J. Savoy
  • Fred L. Allen
  • Arnold M. Saxton
Original Article


With tighter environmental regulations and increasing energy costs over time, approaches to minimize losses from commercially available nitrogen (N) fertilizers have become more critical in recent times. An organically enhanced N fertilizer (OENF), manufactured from organic additives extracted from sterilized biosolids plus ammonium sulfate, was evaluated as an alternative N source relative to commercially available N sources, namely, ammonium sulfate and urea. The formulation was tested on corn in 2012 and 2013 at Jackson and Ames, Tennessee, under no-till and plow lands, respectively. Chemically OENF contains 14.9% N, 4.3% P2O5, 18.1% S, 0.6% Fe, and 3.3% OC. The N fertilizer sources were applied at N rates of 0, 85, 128, and 170 kg ha−1. The P, K, and Zn nutrients were adequately supplied. The OENF and ammonium sulfate produced plant biomass significantly greater than that of urea at N rates of ≥85 kg ha−1. Despite the fact that less P was supplied to the OENF treatments (36% less P), grain yields from the OENF were similar to those from both ammonium sulfate and urea at N rate of ≤128 kg N ha−1, but significantly greater than those from urea at 170 kg N ha−1. The fertilizer type used did not have any significant effects on disease and physical damage to the corn ears at any application rate tested. The OENF could be an alternative N source for crop production and may provide all or some of the P needs for corn production. Therefore, with additional environment benefits of encouraging recycling of municipal and domestic waste and as sources of N, P, S, Fe and organic matter, the use of OENF should be incorporated in various corn production systems.


Biosolids Municipal waste No-till farming Plant biomass Yield components Corn 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Winings
    • 1
  • Xinhua Yin
    • 1
  • Sampson Agyin-Birikorang
    • 2
  • Upendra Singh
    • 2
  • Joaquin Sanabria
    • 2
  • Hubert J. Savoy
    • 3
  • Fred L. Allen
    • 1
  • Arnold M. Saxton
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of TennesseeJacksonUSA
  2. 2.Soil and Plant Nutrition Division, Office of ProgramsInternational Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)Muscle ShoalsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil ScienceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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