Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2009
Publication Date: November 1, 2009
Citation: Read, J.J., Sleugh, B.B., Aiken, G.E., Lang, D.E. 2009. Broiler Litter Effects on Forage Quality in Tall Fescue [abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. CD-ROM. Technical Abstract: Land application of broiler chicken (Gallus gallus) litter to forage crops is one of the most obvious methods of recycling nutrients. However, manure management remains one of the greatest challenges for livestock producers, particularly where animals are produced on relatively small land areas. Tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S. J. Darbyshire] is depended on heavily for livestock production in many regions of the Southeastern USA. Field studies were conducted in Kentucky (2002-04) and Mississippi (2005-07) to determine forage quality of tall fescue fertilized with litter rates of 0, 4.48, 8.96, 13.4, and 17.9 Mg/ha/yr, as compared to commercial fertilizer (CF, 224 kg/ha N) and. The six treatments were applied either in April (Kentucky) or split-applied in April and October (Mississippi) to small plots randomized in a complete block design. In general, CF produced the highest quality forage, based on high crude protein (CP) and low acid detergent fiber (ADF), at the early-season harvest. In the late-season harvest in 2007, a yield response to litter was associated with increased CP and decreased ADF. A commonly used single-application of 4.5 Mg/ha litter sometimes resulted in forage quality comparable to 8.96 Mg litter. Rates exceeding 8.96 Mg/ha elevated soil P, Cu, and Zn concentrations. Results suggest high rates of litter benefited late-season hay yields, but did not improve the overall forage quality and may have unintended environmental consequences.