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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2016, Article ID 4709024, 14 pages
Research Article

Impact of Forage Fertilization with Urea and Composted Cattle Manure on Soil Fertility in Sandy Soils of South-Central Vietnam

1Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, 149 Morrison Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
2Department of Animal Science, Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program, Cornell University, 323 Morrison Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
3School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 98, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
4Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, 102 Phung Hung Street, Hue, Vietnam
5Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems, The Pennsylvania State University, 467 Business Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
6Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, 329 Morrison Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Received 1 November 2015; Accepted 20 January 2016

Academic Editor: Glaciela Kaschuk

Copyright © 2016 Keenan C. McRoberts et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Increased production in smallholder beef systems requires improved forage management. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of composted cattle manure and mineral nitrogen (urea) application on soil fertility and partial nutrient balances in plots established to Brachiaria cv. Mulato II in south-central coastal Vietnam from 2010 to 2013. A randomized complete block design was implemented on six farms (blocks), with five rates of composted cattle manure (0, 4, 8, 12, and 24 Mg DM/ha per yr) and three urea rates (0, 60, and 120 kg N/ha per yr) in a factorial design. Soil was analyzed before and after the experiment. Compost increased soil pH, organic matter, Ca, Mg, and Mn. The effect of compost and urea applications on postexperiment soil fertility depended on preexperiment soil fertility for K, P, S, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, and organic matter, suggesting that the ability to maintain soil fertility depends on the interaction between soil organic and inorganic amendments and existing soil fertility. Highest farm yields were also achieved on farms with higher preexperiment soil fertility levels. Negative partial nutrient balances for N, P, and K suggest that yields will not be sustainable over time even for the highest fertilization inputs used in this experiment.