Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 2006
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Citation: Adeli, A., Rowe, D.E., Read, J.J. 2006. Effects of soil type on bermudagrass response to broiler litter applications. Agronomy Journal. 98:148-155. Interpretive Summary: Pastures and hayfields are common sites for broiler litter applied as fertilizer in the southeastern USA. Resource management legislation often emphasizes that land application of animal waste should not adversely affect the receiving environment. Among the southeastern forage crops, the predominant forage is bermudagrass, a tropical perennial grass that responds readily to applied fertilizer and intensive hay management. Approximately half of the entire permanent pasture acreage in Mississippi (2.7 million acres) is devoted to bermudagrass. Most of the bermudagrass is in south central part of the state, a place where 60% of the total broiler litter is produced. Used primarily for hay production and grazing, bermudagrass has considerable yield and nutrient uptake variations among production areas. These variations are possibly due to differences in bermudagrass response to the range of soil properties encountered in Mississippi. Applied nitrogen from animal waste can be removed by plant uptake and immobilization or lost through denitrification and volatilization especially in soils with an alkaline pH. Soils vary in their chemical, biological, and physical properties and can therefore be expected to vary in their abilities to assimilate animal waste nutrients. It appears that the extent of all these biological and chemical processes will vary with soil type. However, little work has linked the effects of soil type along with broiler litter applications on bermudagrass nutrient utilization and dry matter production. In boiler management practices choosing soil types that maximize plant growth and nutrient removal and minimize soil nutrient accumulation are agronomically and environmentally sound.
Technical Abstract: A greenhouse study was conducted to determine the effects of broiler litter application on dry matter yield and nutrient concentration of ‘Alicia’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers] grown on three different soils types. Soils include the Leeper clay loam (fine, smectitic, nonacid, thermic Vertic Epiaquepts), Marrietta silt loam ( fine-silty, mixed, active, thermic Oxyaquic Fraglossudalfs), and Ruston sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Typic Paleudults). Experimental design was a randomized complete block with a split plot arrangement of treatments in which soil was used as main plots and broiler litter rates as sub-plots. Treatments were replicated three times. Broiler litter was applied at the rate of 0, 4.6, 9.2, and 13.8 mg ha-1 equivalent to approximately 0, 175, 350, and 525 kg N ha-1. The changes in dry matter yield decreased in the order of Ruston>Leeper>Marietta. Regardless of soil type, application of broiler litter at rates >350 kg N ha-1 did not effectively increase dry matter yield and nutrient uptakes. Bermudagrass N concentration increased with increasing broiler litter application rates and the highest value occurred on the Marrietta soil (24.2 g kg-1). The greatest dry matter yield in the Ruston soil diluting the plant N concentration. Bermudagrass P was not affected by either broiler litter application or soil types. Bermudagrass K concentration increased with increased broiler litter application and was greatest on the Ruston soil (23.5 g kg-1). Recovery efficiency for N and K was approximately 60% greater in the Ruston than in the Marrietta and Leeper soils. Bermudagrass Ca and Mg decreased with increased broiler litter application and were not affected by soil types. Changes in the residual soil NO3-N and P accumulation decreased in the order of Marrietta>Leeper>Ruston. In conclusion, bermudagrass yield and nutrient removal was the greatest in the Ruston, however, a field experiment should be conducted in the future for results validation.