Effects of meat bone meal as fertilizer on leaf nitrogen status in sugar beet and on soil nitrate concentrations

Jukka Kivelä


Meat and bone meal (MBM) as a by-product from meat industry, is an important source for recycling of N and P. It contains about 8 % N, 5 % P, 1 % K and 10 % Ca. Field experiments were carried out for testing fertilization effect of MBM on yield and quality of sugar beet (2008-2009) and of carrot (2011-2012) in Finland and comparing with mineral fertilizer in conventional farming methods. In these  experiments,  MBM returned fair yields  and  generally  better  quality,  in  comparison  to conventional mineral fertilization (Kivelä et al., 2015). These experiments were also used for studying N availability as nitrate in soil in the carrot experiments, and using SPAD measurements as resulting N status of sugar beet leaves. The SPAD measurements indicated in first experiment year about same N availability of MBM nitrogen as mineral fertilizer with sugar beet. In the second year SPAD measurements indicated lower availability of MBM nitrogen, but difference in the yield amount was about same. In the first year of the carrot experiments nitrate amounts in soil were lower in the beginning of growing season, but at the season end it was corresponding with conventional fertilization. In the other experiment, in year 2011 MBM gave highest nitrate amounts in soil over whole growing season, while at the same time the carrots from the MBM treatments had lowest nitrate concentrations and best storage quality. I conclude that MBM fertilization, while giving comparable yields and improved quality, produces a differing pattern of nitrate availability in soil, and a differing pattern of nitrogen status in the plant, in comparison to conventional mineral fertilizers.

Keywords: meat bone meal, organic fertlizer, nutrient content, recycling, sugar beet, carrot

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