2008 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this project is to work with Jordanian biological systems engineers and poultry producers to reduce the pollution potential of organic agricultural wastes to surface and ground water through composting. The likelihood that on-farm poultry litter composting will become a standard practice adopted on a larger scale than the initial project will depend in part on demonstration of the efficiency and economic viability, and high product quality from the ‘first’ venture.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The ARS team will:
•jointly plan and develop with the Jordanian team a poultry manure/litter composting operation (“Operation” may be to develop the specific simple approach or procedures of getting chicken manure collected and distributed to individual farmers, and their training so they can create their own compost for their farms. Large-scale production, marketing and distribution of compost is likely too expensive and sophisticated for Jerash at this time.)
•provide guidance, consultation, training to the Jordanian team in composting methods and overcoming hurdles,
•provide them with written and illustrated design, operational, and product utilization guidance materials, as well as monitoring, accounting, and other operation software.
• to provide test methods and training to assess the quality and suitability of the product for meeting various agricultural and horticultural applications within environmental limits,
•provide a workshop to train compost facility operators in Best Available Practices.
This report serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable agreement between ARS and the US Forest Service. The US Forest Service (USFS) and ARS provided technical assistant to USAID-Jordan under the Pollution Prevention for Environmental Health Protection project (P2EHP) implemented by CDM, Inc. ARS experts met with counterparts in Jordan on three occasions this year. They visited farms, animal facilities, and wastewater plants to learn about agricultural practices, agricultural wastes, and municipal wastewater sludge resources that could be composted for agricultural use, met with Jordanian counterparts to discuss collaboration and identify training needs, and developed preliminary plans to address agricultural/municipal waste issues. Subsequently cooperators set up construction of three demonstration-scale compost piles and plant growth experiments for use in farmer training workshops and continue collaboration with USAID/CDM to address agricultural/municipal waste issues. Results of compost piles and plant growth experiments were reviewed, and workshops were conducted with farmers and other stakeholders. An additional three compost piles will be constructed using poultry litter from a poultry broiler farm. Temperatures of the six piles will be monitored weekly to assess how well the piles self-heat (an indication of the success of the composting process). In addition, an experiment was initiated to assess the fertilizer value of poultry litter as a low-cost organic fertilizer for vegetable crops. Compost piles started in July 2008 were progressing as expected, but needed to be turned and wetted to continue the composting process. All compost piles are progressing well and it is currently unclear whether the amendments (bamboo or shredded leaves) added to some of the piles are needed. Plant growth experiments (using eggplant seedlings and poultry litter or dried algae as alternatives for commercial fertilizer) showed that these amendments worked as well as commercial fertilizer. However, the experiment should be repeated with more types of plants and application rates. Overall progress in this project includes increased scientific cooperation and exchanges between ARS scientists and Jordanian stakeholders to attain the objectives of the project.