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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Reducing Non-Point Source Phosphorus Runoff from Poultry Manure with Aluminum Sulfate

Author
item Moore, Philip

Submitted to: OECD Workshop - Practical and Innovative Measures for the Control of Agricu
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Phosphorus runoff from soils fertilized with animal manures, such as poultry manure, can be relatively high even when moderate application rates are used. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of alum applications to poultry manure on (1) ammonia volatilization rates from manure, (2) atmospheric ammonia levels in poultry houses, (3) poultry performance (weight gains, feed conversion, etc.), (4) energy use, and (5) P runoff from small watersheds. Two farms in NW Arkansas, USA, were utilized for this study. Alum was applied at a rate of 1816 kg/house in half of the houses at each farm after each flock of birds and incorporated into the litter. The other houses were controls. Ammonia volatilization rates were reduced by 97% with alum applications for the first four weeks of each growout. Birds grown on alum-treated litter were significantly heavier and had better feed conversion than birds grown in control houses. Energy use was also lower in alum-treated houses, due to reduced ventilation requirements to remove ammonia. An economic analysis indicated that this best management practice was very cost-effective, with a benefit/cost ratio of 1.96. Phosphorus runoff from normal and alum-treated poultry manure was evaluated from field sized plots (1 acre each) for three years. Phosphorus concentrations in runoff water from alum-treated litter were 75% lower than from normal manure. Aluminum concentrations in runoff were not significantly affected by either treatment. These results indicate that treating poultry manure with alum is a cost-effective best management practice that reduces non-point source P runoff.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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