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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF LAND AND WATER RESOURCES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY IN THE NORTHEAST U.S. Title: Effect of direct incorporation of poultry litter on phosphorus leaching from coastal plain soils

Authors
item Feyereisen, Gary
item Kleinman, Peter
item Folmar, Gordon
item Saporito, Louis
item Way, Thomas
item Church, Clinton
item Allen, Arthur - UMES

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2010
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Citation: Feyereisen, G.W., Kleinman, P.J., Folmar, G.J., Saporito, L.S., Way, T.R., Church, C., Allen, A.L. 2010. Effect of direct incorporation of poultry litter on phosphorus leaching from coastal plain soils. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 65(4):243-251.

Interpretive Summary: Management of poultry litter on the Delmarva Peninsula is critical to reducing phosphorus loads to the Chesapeake Bay. New poultry litter incorporation technologies have shown promise at reducing phosphorus losses, but their effectiveness has not been tested in this environmentally-sensitive region. This study evaluates subsurface leaching losses of three litter application methods, including a novel litter incorporator developed by the USDA-ARS. Results indicate that subsurface placement of litter increases total phosphorus leaching losses, a concern on the Delmarva Peninsula where the majority of losses are to groundwater. However, results also point to opportunities to modify the new technology to reduce leaching losses.

Technical Abstract: Management of poultry litter on the Delmarva Peninsula is critical to reducing phosphorus loads to the Chesapeake Bay. New poultry litter incorporation technologies have shown promise at reducing phosphorus losses, but their effectiveness has not been tested in this environmentally-sensitive region. This study evaluates subsurface leaching losses of three litter application methods including surface broadcast, surface broadcast with disking, and subsurface litter incorporation with a novel litter incorporator developed by the USDA-ARS. Cube-shaped soil lysimeters (60 by 60 by 60 cm) were extracted from high P (Mehlich-3 P is greater than 500 mg kg**-1) agricultural soils on the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Research Farm near Princess Anne, MD and subjected to two rainfall simulation events that were separated by 11 semi-weekly soaking-type irrigation events (applied water depth = 28.5 cm). The average cumulative total phosphorus load was highest for the subsurface litter incorporation method (0.54 kg ha**-1) and lowest for the no litter control (0.20 kg ha**-1). On an event basis, differences in loads were pronounced after the initial rainfall irrigation event but subsided until no significant differences among treatments were noted after the ninth irrigation event. The higher total phosphorus loads were strongly correlated to the total phosphorus concentration in the leachate (r**2 is greater than or equal to 0.84), indicating availability of P in applied litter to be the primary control of P in leachate. Soil properties also impacted P leaching losses, with the highest losses associated with the soils possessing coarse-textured subsurface horizons yielding the highest total P losses (0.66 kg ha**-1). Although the subsurface litter incorporator increases total P leaching losses, a concern on the Delmarva Peninsula, opportunity exists to modify the subsurface applicators using zone tillage, potentially reducing the leaching losses.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014