Significant cost savings can be made with a fertiliser replacement provided by biofertiliser (anaerobic digestate) and compost, scientific trials have shown.

Four trial plots of autumn sown barley applied with biofertiliser and compost made from recycled food and garden waste were on display at Cereals 2010.

Scottish trials showed that when fertiliser prices were high in 2008, growers could save up to £100/ha by using compost or biofertiliser – provided haulage and spreading costs were reasonable.

The trials also found that further financial gain could be made from the liming effect as both contain neutralising value.

Soil and crop safety tests on compost and fertiliser showed they did not pose any risks or toxic elements, like lead and zinc.

The WRAP-funded trials were carried out in Scotland by Scottish Agricultural Colleges in 2008/09.

Speaking at Cereals, Anna Becvar, organics specialist for WRAP, said: “The trials have not only shown proven benefits for soils and the growing plant, but also that these products are safe and reliable to use.”

WRAP’s project officer for agriculture and horticulture Will McManus said the programme of research was continuing on using quality compost.

WRAP is also developing research on the use of biofertiliser, he added.