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Effects of charcoal-enriched goat manure on soil fertility parameters and growth of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) in a sandy soil from northern Oman
The effect of charcoal feeding on manure quality and its subsequent application to enhance soil productivity has received little attention. The objectives of the present study therefore were to investigate the effects of (i) charcoal feeding on manure composition, and (ii) charcoal-enriched manure application on soil fertility parameters and growth of millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.). To this end, two experiments were conducted: First, a goat feeding trial where goats were fed increasing levels of activated charcoal (AC; 0, 3, 5, 7, and 9% of total ration); second, a greenhouse pot experiment using the manure from the feeding trial as an amendment for a sandy soil from northern Oman. We measured manure C, N, P, and K concentrations, soil fertility parameters and microbial biomass indices, as well as plant yield and nutrient concentrations. Manure C concentration increased significantly (P<0.001) from 45.2% (0% AC) to 60.2% (9% AC) with increasing dietary AC, whereas manure N, P, and K concentrations decreased (P<0.001) from 0% AC (N: 2.5%, P: 1.5%, K: 0.8%) to 9% AC (N: 1.7%, P: 0.8%, K: 0.4%). Soil organic carbon, pH, and microbial biomass N showed a response to AC-enriched manure. Yield of millet decreased slightly with AC enrichment, whereas K uptake was improved with increasing AC. We conclude that AC effects on manure quality and soil productivity depend on dosage of manure and AC, properties of AC, trial duration, and soil type.