The role of organic matter and ammonium in producing high corn yields

  • S. R. Olsen
Part of the Developments in Plant and Soil Sciences book series (DPSS, volume 25)


Soil organic matter has been recognized for centuries as the key to soil fertility and productivity. Organic matter plays a major role in the chemical, microbiological and physical aspects of soil fertility. Organic matter as a source of nutrients, primarily nitrogen, has received most attention and research. Soil organic matter is increased by organic manures or by growing herbage crops. All organic manures supply plant nutrients. For a century the classical experiments at Rothamsted indicated that yields of crops with farmyard manure could be achieved equally by applications of NPK fertilizers (5, 19). However since 1962 varieties with a high yield potential have been grown and evidence is accumulating from long-term tests that farmyard and other organic manures can give larger yields than can be obtained with fertilizers only (4, 19). It has been postulated that these effects are the result of organically bound nitrogen behaving in ways not easily imitated by fertilizer-nitrogen. This tentative explanation needs to be explored in more detailed experiments (4). Investigation of these effects may identify some nutritional needs of crops that prevent achievement of maximum yields and may lead to better utilization of nitrogen by crops.


Soil Organic Matter Sugar Beet Nitrate Reductase Organic Manure Nitrate Reductase Activity 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1986

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  • S. R. Olsen

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