Using by-products for Agricultural Production

Proposed by: Charles C.Mitchell, Jr.

Presenter: Mitchell Jr., C. C., Extension Specialist & Professor, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, AL 36849

Prior to the early 20th Century, most soil amendments used to improve agricultural production were by-products of some other process, usually animal manures. As industrial development spread, these by-products became important sources of nutrients or soil liming materials such as ammonium sulfate (by-product of coking) and basic slag (by product of iron and steel manufacture). With the use of concentrated chemical fertilizers and ground, agricultural limestone, modern agricultural production is less dependent on by-products as soil amendments. However, as society strives to recycle and become “greener”, we must find a way to integrate more and more by-products into our agricultural production systems. We will review several agricultural and industrial by-products that have been researched and adopted or rejected as soil amendments to enhance agricultural production. Each will be reviewed with respect to four questions that need to be considered. (1) Does my by-product have any obvious properties that could be potentially harmful to the environment (soil, plants, animals, water) if land applied? (2) Does it have any value if land applied? (3) Can we logistically and economically apply it to either our own land or offer it for public use? (4) Will there be any public objection to a land application program?

All Accepted Proposals