Effect of organic and sustainable fertilisation and soil organic carbon content on energy use efficiency, GHG emissions, and cost-effectiveness

Prof. Egidijus Šarauskis1, Dr. Laura Masilionytė2, Assoc. Prof. Zita Kriaučiūnienė1, Prof. Kęstutis Romaneckas1, PhD Student Darius Juknevičius1

1Vytautas Magnus University, Akademija, Lithuania, 2Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Joniskelis, Lithuania

The aim of this study was to assess different fertilisation methods in organic and sustainable farming using energy, environmental, and economic indicators. This research was based on a long-term study of cultivating winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and the following spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with the under-sowing of red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) under two organic (SC-I and SC-II) and two sustainable (SC-III and SC-IV) fertilisation scenarios in soils with low or moderate organic carbon content. The fertilisers used in SC-I, SC-II, SC-III, and SC-IV were green manure, green manure + farmyard manure, farmyard manure + NPK, and green manure + NPK, respectively. SC-I and SC-IV exhibited the lowest total energy inputs and highest energy efficiency ratios (EER) of 8.73 and 8.37 in soil with a low organic carbon content, and 9.15 and 8.72 in soil with a moderate organic carbon level, respectively. In SC-II and SC-III, the energy input for farmyard manure accounted for 45.0–49.3% of the total energy input. The results of the environmental impact assessment indicated that fertilisation with farmyard manure resulted in a tenfold increase in the total GHG emissions from those of the green manure fertilisation scenarios. Economic analysis showed that, although the lowest gross production costs were achieved in SC-I (515.15 EUR ha-1), SC-I also provided the highest returns and the best cost-effectiveness ratio (CER) of 2.45 and 2.55, respectively, in soil with low and moderate organic carbon levels. The difference between the CER of SC-I and other scenarios was significant.

Keywords: organic and sustainable farming, soil organic carbon content, fertilisation, green and farmyard manure, energy use efficiency, GHG emission, cost-effectiveness

Biography: Prof. Dr. Egidijus Šarauskis is Director of Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Safety, Agriculture Academy, Vytautas Magnus University, LITHUANIA. Member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. Main research areas: Soil tillage and sowing technologies and their impact on soil properties; Technological, energetic, environmental and economic assessment of the impact of agricultural technological operations on soil and environmental pollution.

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