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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT AND USE OF ANIMAL MANURE TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

Title: A New Method of Poultry Litter Application to Perennial Pasture: Subsurface Banding

Authors
item Warren, Jason
item Sistani, Karamat
item Way, Thomas
item Mays, David - ALABAMA A&M UNIV.
item Pote, Daniel

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 13, 2008
Publication Date: November 3, 2008
Citation: Warren, J.G., Sistani, K.R., Way, T.R., Mays, D.A., Pote, D.H. 2008. A new method of poultry litter application to perennial pasture: subsurface banding. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72: 1831-1837.

Interpretive Summary: Recently, incorporation of poultry litter by subsurface band application into pasture has been shown to dramatically reduce surface runoff transport of environmentally sensitive nutrients and pathogens. However, no data are currently available to evaluate the impact of this potential litter management strategy on forage production or the accumulation of soil nutrients after multi-year applications. Therefore, two experiments, one in bermudagrass and one in tall fescue were initiated which contained treatments consisting of (i) a standard commercial fertilizer application (ii) a surface broadcast poultry litter application, (iii) poultry litter applied in subsurface bands placed 10 inches apart, and (iv) poultry litter applied in subsurface bands placed 15 inches apart. The two experiments were conducted for three years on a Hartsells soil at Crossville, AL and showed that subsurface band application of poultry litter allowed for equivalent forage yields in both production systems compared to conventional broadcast litter applications. Subsurface band application of poultry litter also did not generally impact forage N, P and K concentrations. Three years of subsurface band application of litter to a depth of approximately 2 inches did not significantly alter the soil test nutrient content of soils collected at a depth of 0-6 inches. However, data did suggest that subsurface band application would allow for increased downward movement of nutrients such as Cu and P. The data presented suggest that the environmental benefits of subsurface band application of poultry litter into perennial grass production systems can be achieved without detrimental impacts on forage production or crop nutrient concentrations.

Technical Abstract: Recently, incorporation of poultry litter by subsurface band application into pasture has been shown to dramatically reduce surface runoff transport of environmentally sensitive nutrients and pathogens. However, no data are currently available to evaluate the impact of this potential litter management strategy on forage production or the accumulation of soil nutrients after multi-year applications. Therefore, two experiments, one in bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and one in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) were initiated which contained treatments consisting of (i) a standard commercial fertilizer application (ii) a surface broadcast poultry litter application, (iii) poultry litter applied in subsurface bands placed 25 cm apart, and (iv) poultry litter applied in subsurface bands placed 38 cm apart. The two experiments were conducted for three years on a Hartsells (Typic Hapludults) soil at Crossville, AL and showed that subsurface band application of poultry litter allowed for equivalent forage yields in both production systems compared to conventional broadcast litter applications. Subsurface band application of poultry litter also did not generally impact forage N, P and K concentrations. Three years of subsurface band application of litter to a depth of approximately 5 cm did not significantly alter the Mehlich 3 extractable nutrient content of soils collected at a depth of 0-15 cm. However, data did suggest that subsurface band application would allow for increases in subsurface translocation of nutrients as was evidenced by increased Cu concentrations at 15-30 cm depth. The data presented suggest that the environmental benefits of subsurface band application of poultry litter into perennial grass production systems can be achieved without detrimental impacts on forage production or crop nutrient concentrations.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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