Nitrogen release from aerobically composted hop bines

Traditionally in Germany, chopped hop bines are returned to hop gardens after the harvest season in late autumn. However, due to more stringent legal regulations addressing the application of manure, this common practice is banned. Furthermore, the return of hop residues bears phytopathological risks, such as the spreading of Verticillium spores. Aerobic composting of hop bines might solve both problems. Nitrogen is conserved over winter, and pathogens are killed due to high temperatures during composting. However, nitrogen release from mature composts is relatively poor. Thus, in a pot trial, the nitrogen fertilizing effect of aerobically composted hop bines was compared to that of fresh hop bines (air-dried directly after harvest), aged hop bines (stored on a heap for four weeks according to common practice) as well as mature green waste compost and green manure (Phacelia). Lamb's lettuce was cultivated in balcony boxes filled with topsoil used for arable crops. The plant density was 116 plants m-2, and nitrogen was applied on a basis of 130 kg ha‑1. Nitrogen from hop bines, green waste compost, and green manure was estimated to become plant available at rates of 100, 75, 50, and 25%, respectively. The control was fertilized with ammonium nitrate. With the exceptions of composted hop bines and green manure, plant growth in organic fertilized treatments was significantly less compared to the control, even if only 25% of the nitrogen was estimated to become plant available. The fertilizing effect of composted hop bines was comparable to that of fresh hop bines and higher than aged ones. However, nitrogen release of all kinds of hop bines was significantly less compared to Phacelia. The results indicate that nitrogen in hop bines can be conserved over winter by aerobic composting, but due to remarkable gaseous N losses during the composting process, the overall efficiency is relatively poor.

Beiträge zu wissenschaftlicher Konferenz/Tagung
Nitrogen release from aerobically composted hop bines
Acta Hort.
Johannes Görl , Dr. Dieter Lohr , Prof. Dr. Elke Meinken
Görl, Johannes; Lohr, Dieter; Meinken, Elke (2021): Nitrogen release from aerobically composted hop bines. Acta Hort. 1328, S. 121-126. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1328.17