Red soils are widespread throughout subtropical and tropical regions and are the most important resources for grain production in South China. Application of chemical fertilizers alone or chemical fertilizers combined with organic amendments is commonly practiced to improve physicochemical properties and fertility for red soils. This chapter summarizes the findings of a 22-year long-term field experiment conducted in the red soil region of south central China. Changes in soil pH, soil organic matter (OM), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and aggregate distribution and stability as affected by the long-term fertilization treatments were examined and discussed. Combined application of chemical fertilizer and rice straw or pig manure significantly increased soil pH in the first 7 years, but soil pH decreased linearly at a rate of 0.04–0.07 unit yearly since then. Soil total N and total P content significantly increased during the long-term fertilization, and the effects of pig manure addition on N and P build-up were greater than that of rice straw addition. In contrast, soil total potassium (K) contents significantly decreased by the long-term fertilization. There was a significant difference between the effect of rice straw addition and pig manure amendment on various aggregate size distribution in the red soil.
Part of the book: Organic Fertilizers