Western Australian fly ash on sandy soils for clover production

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Publication Date


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Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis


fly ash, soil amendment, clover


An experiment was conducted to determine the value of fly ash collected from flue gases of the Kwinana coal fired power station in Western Australia, as an amendment for sandy soils and as a replacement for phosphorus or potassium fertilizers. The results showed large increases in clover dry matter production (49% to 278%), attributed to improvements in nutrient and water retention from the fly ash. The fly ash provided a substantial amount of the phosphorus needed by the clover, although application of phosphorus fertilizer further increased dry matter production in the presence of fly ash. No evidence was obtained from plant growth or tissue analysis that the fly ash provided potassium to the pasture. The maximum yield was achieved when 501 ha‐1 of fly ash was applied to the soil. However, only 10 to 401 ha‐1 was required to achieve 75 to 90% of the maximum production. Although a statistically significant increase in cadmium and mercury concentration could be attributed to fly ash, the increase was small and within the range of natural variation of levels found at the sites.