Knowledge of changes in soil organic matter (SOM) fractions resulting from agricultural practice is important for decision-making at farm level because of the contrasting effects of different SOM fractions on soils. A long-term trial sited under Sudano-Sahelian conditions was used to assess the effect of organic and inorganic fertilization on SOM fractions and sorghum performance. Sorghum straw and kraal manure were applied annually at 10 t ha(-1), with and without urea at 60 kg N ha(-1). The other treatments included fallowing, a control (no fertilization), and inorganic fertilization only (urea, 60 kg N ha(-1)). Fallowing gave significantly larger soil organic carbon and nitrogen (N) levels than any other treatment. Total soil SOM and N concentrations increased in the following order: urea only <straw <control <straw+urea <manure with or without urea <fallow. Farming had an adverse effect on SOM and N status; however, this mostly affected the fraction of SOM > 0.053 mm (particulate organic matter, POM). The POM concentrations in the control, straw and urea-only treatments were about one-half of the POM concentrations in the fallow treatment. POM concentrations increased in the following order: urea only <control <straw with or without urea <manure with or without urea <fallow. The fraction of SOM <0.053 mm (fine organic matter, FOM) was greater than POM in all plots except in fallow and manure+urea plots. Total N concentration followed the same trend as SOM, but cultivation led to a decline in both POM-N and FOM-N. Crop yield was greatest in the manure plots and lowest in the straw, control and urea-only plots. Results indicate that under Sudano-Sahelian conditions, SOM, POM and FOM fractions and crop performance were better maintained using organic materials with a low C/N ratio (manure) than with organic material with a high C/N ratio (straw). Urea improved the effect of straw on crop yield and SOM concentration.
Mando, A., Bonzi, M., Wopereis, M. C. S., Lompo, F., & Stroosnijder, L. (2005). Long-term effects of mineral and organic fertilization on soil organic matter fractions and sorghum yield under Sudano-Sahelian conditions. Soil Use and Management, 21(1), 396-401. https://doi.org/10.1079/SUM2005339