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Biochar Can Enhance Potassium Fertilization Efficiency and Economic Feasibility of Maize Cultivation

TitleBiochar Can Enhance Potassium Fertilization Efficiency and Economic Feasibility of Maize Cultivation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWidowati, and Asnah
JournalJournal of Agricultural Science

Field experiments were conducted to study the effect of biochar on potassium fertilizer leaching and uptake, efficiency and effectiveness of K fertilization, and economic viability of farming maize. Thirty tons ha-1 of biochar prepared from organic waste was applied to an Inceptisol. The experiment was arranged in a randomized block design with 7 treatments, namely control (without biochar and KCl), K1 (200 kg ha-1 KCl), BK0 (biochar, without KCl), BK1/4 (biochar + 50 kg ha-1 KCl), BK 1/2 (biochar + 100 kg ha-1 KCl), BK 3/4 (biochar + 150 kg ha-1 KCl), and BK1 (biochar + 200 kg ha-1 KCl) and three replicates for each treatment. The results suggest that biochar could replace and reduce KCl fertilizer. Biochar application increased the availability of nutrients by 69-89% for K+, 61-70% for Ca++, 39-53% for N total, 179-208% for P, and 14-184% for K.The results showed that the sole application of biochar increased maize production (6.24 Mg ha-1) by 14% compared sole application of KCl fertilizer (5.45 Mg ha-1). In contrast, dual application of biochar and 75% lower dosage of KCl fertilizer application increased maize production by 29%. Application of biochar and KCl fertilizer at the rate of 50 kg ha-1 resulted in the highest relative agronomic effectiveness (137%) and K fertilizer efficiency (18%). This application rate was also superior both technically and economically as assessed in terms of production (7.02 Mg ha-1), value of sales (revenue; IDR 19,305 million ha-1), income (IDR 8,663 million ha-1), and economic feasibility (R/C, 1.8).