How can we make better use of crop residues?
- Tom Sizmur (Geography and Environmental Science – University of Reading)
- Simon Mortimer (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development – University of Reading)
- Andy Whitmore (Rothamsted Research)
- University of Reading
- Waitrose Agronomy Group
- September 2015
The application of organic matter to soil provides an energy source for soil organisms that modify soil structure and reduce soil strength, enabling plant roots to penetrate the soil more quickly leading to higher crop yields. Long-term experiments at Rothamsted have revealed that the benefits of earthworms on soil structure and crop yield are more pronounced when farmyard manure is applied to soils than when straw is applied, despite straw containing more energy than manure. This PhD will aim to determine why this is the case to figure out how straw application could be improved to enhance benefits obtained from soils organisms.