Use of Spent Grains, Cheese Whey, Gypsum, And Compost for Reclamation of Sodic Soils and Improvement of Corn Seed Germination

Emad F. Aboukila

Incubation and germination experiments were carried out to evaluate spent grain, cheese whey, gypsum and compost for reclamation of sodic soils and enhancing Corn (Zea mays L.) germination. Seven treatments included two levels of mozzarella cheese whey, two levels of compost, one level of gypsum, one level of spent grain and an untreated control. The treatments were added to sodic soil, packed in pots and incubated under natural field conditions. One month after the incubation, 4 corn seeds were sown in the soil pots. The germination experiment was lasted for 15 days. Results indicate that all organic amendments most effectively reduced exchangeable sodium percent (ESP), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), and soil pH; while enhanced soil organic matter, macronutrients, and corn germination percentages, compare to gypsum and control. Spent grain was the most effective amendment in reducing soil sodicity and enhancing soil fertility and corn germination in the sodic soils. Further increasing the application rates of cheese whey and compost did not significantly enhance corn germination or reduce sodicity. The positive impacts of all amendments followed the arranging; spent grain > cheese whey > compost > gypsum > control. Moreover, one-month incubation was enough time for amendments to ameliorate soil sodicity before crop plantation. Spent grain and cheese whey are more effective than gypsum and compost in remediating sodic soils and are much inexpensive.

Keywords: Sodic soils; Industrial by-products; Cheese whey; Organic amendments; Zea mays L