Replacing inorganic fertilizer with anaerobic digestate may maintain agricultural productivity at less environmental cost

Authors

  • John J. Walsh,

    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Davey L. Jones,

    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gareth Edwards-Jones,

    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. Prysor Williams

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom
    • School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

We applied digestate generated from the anaerobic digestion of slurry, undigested slurry, or inorganic N (ammonium nitrate) or NPK compound fertilizer to pots of grass and a grass–clover mix grown in two soils. Crop yields were equal or enhanced with digestate, and analysis of soil water showed that there was less potential for loss of nutrients via leaching. Replacing inorganic fertilizer with digestate may therefore maintain grassland productivity but with less impact on the environment.

Ancillary