Poplars and swine manure – can they be compatible?
The results of two Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) projects and greenhouse studies are presented. Hybrid poplars are the fastest-growing trees in Saskatchewan and may have economic potential as an alternative crop. They also need more moisture and nutrients annually than other tree species for maximum growth. Under the projects, two hybrid poplar plantings were designed at Arborfield and Preeceville, SK, planted in 2002, which were compatible with field application of swine effluent. The nitrogen response of young hybrid poplar trees in the field was assessed and clonal differences were determined that might make some clones more appropriate in such plantings. Effluent was successfully applied to the two plantings at Arborfield and Preeceville with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) effluent application truck to which modifications to the delivery system had been made. Nitrogen growth response was not shown in the newly-planted trees, but there was an increase in annual growth parameters in older trees at Henribourg, SK even though the final height of the trees did not depend on the nitrogen treatment. The projects showed important clonal differences in growth with Walker, Katepwa, WP69 and a clone of Populus tristis (Fisch.) having greater height and diameter than other clones. Greenhouse studies showed that clonal differences exist in nitrogen uptake rates and in preference for the form (ammonium or nitrate) with Hill poplar combining a relatively high productivity with a relatively greater preference for ammonium.
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