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SWEEP Report #26

The Use of Kelp and Molasses in an Aeration Tillage System

J. Sadler Richards, Conservation Management Systems, Lucan, Ontario

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research

View/Download Report (897 KB pdf) (appendices included)



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Completed: July, 1991

Key Words:

organic farming, aeration tillage, kelp, molasses, low input farming, Aerway system, soybeans

Executive Summary

In 1989 and 1990 two field trials were carried out each year in Oxford County to determine the effects of kelp, molasses and 71B fertilizer solution (1990 only) on soybean plant growth and seed yield in an aeration tillage system.

Results from two years of study indicate that the use of kelp and/or molasses and/or 71B fertilizer solution as a seed and/or foliar treatment in an aeration tillage system did not significantly affect the growth and yield of soybeans.


Evaluation Summary

(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)

This 2 year study was carried out in Oxford county on 2 farm sites. The objectives of the study are:

  1. to determine the effect of kelp and/or molasses on main crop growth and seed yield.

  2. to prepare preliminary conclusions on the efficacy of kelp and/or molasses as essential practices within the Aer-way system of low input crop production.

In 1990 additional treatments using the 71B fertilizer solution were studied. Two farms with 2 sites/farm were used each year with four treatments in year one and 6 treatments in year 2.

The parameters evaluated included soil texture, soil fertility, maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, emergence, plant height, growth stages, and yield.

The conclusions from the study were: (1) no significant difference in emergence between treatments, (2) no significant difference in height of soybeans 2 weeks after planting, (3) no significant difference in vegetative or reproductive growth between treatments, (4) no significant difference in yields amongst the treatments. Therefore the use of kelp and/or molasses and/or 71B fertilizer solution as a seed or foliar treatment on a one year application basis did not significantly affect growth and yield of soybeans in an Aerway production system.


The researchers believe the study should continue for at least 3 years to see if there is an accumulative affect of using kelp and/or molasses over a period of time. Costs were not evaluated with this report but if future research is to take place economics should be taken into account for the added expense of foliar treatments and material cost.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.

(C) Continue research on additives over a number of years to see if there is/is not a benefit and include an economic analysis.




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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 02:37:13 PM