Using digestate as a fertiliser in turf growing

Project name: Turf production trials

Cranfield University and Myerscough College are running two replicated field trials that examine the use of liquid fraction digestate as a biofertiliser in the production of turf. The two trial sites are located on a sandy loam at Cranfield and a heavier silty clay loam at Myerscough, and will provide a comparison between the two soil types and their different regional climatic conditions.  

Both trials have been established with perennial rye grass and have been divided up into twelve, 5 x 5 metre plots comprising three replicates.  The trial site comprise of the following four treatments:

High rate of digestate (200kg N/ha/yr) 

Low rate of digestate (200kg N/ha/yr)

Application of mineral fertiliser 

Control (no fertiliser applied)



Turf quality will be assessed using a quadrat survey for sward density and disease incidence.  

Turf colour and chlorophyll content will be assessed using a chlorophyll meter. 

Diseases present will be identified using published keys.

Turf leaf tissue samples will be sampled and analysed for nutrient status prior to application and at the end of each of the two growing season determine plant nutrient uptake.


Soil samples will be taken and analysed for chemical, physical and biological characteristics prior to application of digestate, and then again at the end of the project.  In addition the soil chemical characteristic will be repeated after 12 months. 


Final results will be available from March 2014