Recycled Organic Amendments: Targeting use towards underlying soil constraints

Lynne Macdonald1

1 CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Locked Bag 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, lynne.macdonald@csiro.au

Recycled organic resources have a role to play in supporting soil health and function, food production, and regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Widespread use, however, can be hampered by variable composition, unpredictable results, biophysical barriers, and economic feasibility. There are opportunities to improve uptake through targeting amendment choice according to an understanding of the mode of action and the underlying soil constraints limiting plant growth. Here we discuss the chemical variability in a range of organic amendments, the role of carbon chemistry and nutrient stoichiometry in decomposition dynamics, and expected longevity of effect. Stepping from fundamental research to field based applications, we discuss opportunities and challenges for the use of organic amendments in supporting soil function and agricultural productivity. Highlighting limitations in surface application, we lean on examples from recent field based research aiming to overcome soil constraints through deep soil amelioration.

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