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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: FERTILIZING CORN WITH RAW CHICKEN LITTER AS A SUBSTITUTE OF INORGANIC FERTILIZERS

Location: Genetics and Precision Agriculture Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine feasibility of variable rate litter applications in optimizing yield across the farm. Test selected chicken litter fertilization plans based on preliminary small-plot research results and published knowledge against conventional inorganic fertilization to help accelerate the adoption of effective, efficient, and safe broiler chicken litter use for corn production in Mississippi.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Test the following fertilizaton plans in a commercial farm setting: (1) Standard conventional commercial fertilizers applied in the spring as farm standard. (2) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the spring to supply N equivalent to the farm standard assuming 50% litter N availability. No other fertilizers needed. (3) Raw broiler chicken applied in the fall to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the full N requirement of corn. This is a new farm practice that does not take into account litter N applied in the fall. (4) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the fall to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the N requirement of corn after accounting for litter N applied in the fall. (5) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the spring to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the N requirement of corn after accounting for litter N. Soil nutrient concentration before and after harvest, plant tissue nutrient concentration, mid-season growth based on meter readings, and grain yield will be used to identify a more efficient and profitable fertilization plan. Aerial imagery and yield monitor data will be combined to determine value of variable rate litter applications for optimizing yields across the farm.


3.Progress Report:

This is a continuation of research initiated in FY 2008 and repeated in FY 2009 on a 20-acre private farm to test selected chicken litter fertilization plans for corn production based on preliminary small-plot research results and published knowledge against conventional inorganic fertilization. FY 2012 research involved monitoring the residual effect of manure applied in previous years. The entire field was planted with cotton and fertilized with inorganic fertilizers uniformly. No manure was applied. Visual inspection of the field revealed no obvious residual effects on cotton growth. A fly-over spectral signature of the crop was taken during the growing season to assess whether manure applied in the previous two seasons persisted and affected cotton growth.


Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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