Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 26, 2005
Publication Date: July 28, 2005
Citation: Adeli, A., Rowe, D.E., Tewolde, H., Shankle, M.W. 2005. Runoff losses of nitrogen and phosphorus from a no-till cotton field fertilized with broiler litter. Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings. p. 197-206.
Interpretive Summary: Broiler litter is rich in plant nutrients that increase cotton production, but surface application of litter on no-till cotton allows nutrients to be transported from fields in surface runoff, while much of the ammonia-N volatilizes. Elevated concentrations of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in surface runoff may degrade surface water quality. Phosphorus transported by surface runoff to streams and lakes often accelerates eutrophication, thus affecting the usage of water resources for many purposes such as drinking, fishing, and recreation. Water quality becomes a concern when using broiler litter as a nutrient source. Broiler litter has increased nutrient levels and metals in surface runoff and may cause concern for surface water quality degradation. Nutrients from broiler litter applied to cotton could be lost in runoff water particularly shortly after application when the incorporation is not effective. Incorporation of broiler litter into soil surface can reduce such problems, but has not been investigated for no-till cotton systems. The magnitude of nutrient losses due to runoff under no-till or reduced-till cotton production system is not well documented. The need exists for broiler litter management strategies to include surface incorporation of broiler litter on off field losses of nutrients. This study was conducted to determine the effects of surface incorporation of applied broiler litter to a no-till cotton field on N and P losses in runoff.
A field experiment was conducted on an Atwood silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, thermic Typic Paleududalfs) soil at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station in Pontotoc County, MS, in 2004, to evaluate if surface incorporation of broiler litter applied to a no-till cotton influences the runoff loss of nutrients. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with 4 treatments replicated 3 times. Treatments included control with and without surface incorporation and broiler litter application at the rate of 8.2 Mg ha-1 with and without surface incorporation. There was 38% more total runoff from incorporated broiler litter into the soil surface than the not incorporated condition. Incorporation of broiler litter into soil surface decreased dissolved P and NH4-N and increased NO3-N concentrations of runoff water samples. Total P and particulate P were greater for surface incorporation than non-incorporated treatment, indicating that greater soil loss resulted in greater amounts of particulate and total P being transported by runoff. Preliminary results indicated that incorporation of broiler litter into soil surface in a no-till cotton field seems to increase the potential contamination of surface water by increasing P losses.