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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT AND USE OF ANIMAL MANURE TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

Title: Poultry litter and tillage influence on corn production and soil nutrients in a Kentucky silt loam soil

Authors
item SISTANI, KARAMAT
item Rasnake, Monroe - UNIV. OF KENTUCKY
item Sikora, Frank - UNIV. OF KENTUCKY

Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2007
Publication Date: February 15, 2008
Citation: Sistani, K.R., Rasnake, M., Sikora, F. 2008. Poultry litter and tillage influence on corn production and soil nutrients in a Kentucky silt loam soil. Soil & Tillage Research. 98:130-139.

Interpretive Summary: Most of the broiler manure is commonly applied to pasture and hay fields as an alternative source of plant nutrients. However, the use of broiler litter (a combination of manure plus bedding materials) on row crops such as corn has not been as extensive. The USDA Natl. Agric. Stat. Serv. (2002) reported the production of more than 3 billion broiler chickens in 2001 generating in excess of 2.5 billion kg of litter. Objective of this study was to investigate the use of broiler litter as an alternative source of nutrients for corn production as influenced by tillage and litter rate. An experiment was initiated in 1998 and continued for four years on a Zanesville silt loam soil in Princeton, Kentucky. The treatments consisted of a chemical fertilizers application at the soil test recommended rate (an average of 170 kg N ha-1), two rates of broiler litter, 11.2 and 22.4 ton ha-1 and two tillage systems, no-till and conventional tillage (chisel plowed and disked). Two years out of the four-year experiment, broiler litter application produced significantly grater corn grain yield than equivalent chemical fertilizer application (farmer standard) and produced similar grain yield in the other two years. Only one out of four years increasing litter rate increased grain yield significantly. Corn grain yield was significantly greater under no-till in 1999, but significantly greater under conventional-till in 2000, and no difference between the two tillage systems in 1998 and 2001. This study clearly indicates that with an optimum rate (11.2 ton ha-1 in this study) broiler litter as a primary fertilizer will produce optimum corn grain yield compare to chemical fertilizer under both no-till or conventional tillage systems.

Technical Abstract: Broiler (Gallus Gallus) manure, a rich source of plant nutrients is generated in large quantities in southeastern USA where many row crops such as corn (Zea Mays L.) is also cropped extensively. However, the use of broiler manure as an economical alternative source of nutrients for corn production has not been extensively explored in this region. This 4-yr study was conducted to examine the use of broiler litter as an alternative source of nutrients for corn production as influenced by tillage and litter rate. The treatments consisted of two rates of broiler litter application, 11.2 and 22.4 Mg ha-1 a and one rate of chemical fertilizers applied at the soil test recommended rate considered as control treatment, and two tillage systems (no-till and conventional tillage). Treatments were replicated three times in a randomized complete block design. Broiler litter and fertilizer were applied on the same plots and corn was planted each year from 1998 to 2001. In 2002 and 2003, corn was planted no-till, but no broiler litter was applied in order to make use of litter residual nutrients. Soil samples were taken yearly and four years after the cessation of litter application to evaluate the status of the residual nutrients in soil. Two years out of the four-year experiment, broiler litter application produced significantly grater corn grain yield than equivalent chemical fertilizer application (farmer standard) and produced similar grain yield in the other two years. Only one out of four years increasing litter rate from 11.2 Mg ha-1 increased grain yield significantly. Corn grain yield was significantly greater under no-till in 1999, but significantly greater under conventional-till in 2000, and no difference between the two tillage systems in 1998 and 2001. This study clearly indicates that with an optimum rate (11.2 Mg ha-1 in this study) broiler litter as a primary fertilizer will produce optimum corn grain yield compare to chemical fertilizer under both no-till or conventional tillage systems.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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