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Changes in microbial biomass indices after 10 years of farmyard manure and vegetal fertilizer application to a sandy soil under organic management.


Plant Soil 343:221-234 (2011).


The main objective of the second Darmstadt trial was to investigate the effects of vegetal fertilizers on soil properties and crop yield in comparison with farmyard manure. The experiment consisted of seven treatments: (i) inorganic fertilizers, (ii) vegetal organic fertilizers, (iii) vegetal organic fertilizers equivalent to biodynamic preparations, (iv) cattle farmyard manure, (v) cattle farmyard manure with addition of biodynamic preparations, (vi) high level of cattle farmyard manure, and (vii) high level of cattle farmyard manure with biodynamic preparations.The soil properties analyzed were pH, soil organic C, N, P, and S, soil microbial biomass C, N, and P, basal respiration and fungal ergosterol. The application of vegetal fertilizers had slightly negative effects on soil organic C, no effects on crop yield (potato, winter rye) and microbial biomass, but positive effects on ergosterol in comparison with farmyard manure. The increase in ergosterol was caused by straw return in the vegetal, but also in the inorganic fertilizer treatments. The biodynamic preparations did not affect the contents of soil organic C and total N. The low effectiveness of vegetal fertiliser in maintaining soil organic C levels is of particular importance for organic cropping systems and should be examined further under different site conditions.