Submitted to: Air and Waste Management Annual Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 17, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In the southeastern United States, broiler litter is often applied to bermudagrass, a perennial, tropical pasture and hay grass that grows principally during the summer. During growth, nitrogen and phosphorus are captured in the bermudagrass hay. This reduces accumulation of these nutrients in the soil and helps to prevent impairment of ground and surface ewater. To maximize bermudagrass growth and nutrient capture, litter should be applied at the proper time. We found that the best time to apply broiler litter to a bermudagrass pasture was in the early spring when the grass was beginning growth after winter dormancy. We also found that splitting the broiler litter application into equal portions and applying each half at different times did not improve growth and nutrient uptake. Additional research is needed to improve the efficiency of uptake of nutrients applied in manure.
Technical Abstract: Daylength and temperature requirements limit the optimum growth of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] to the summer months in the southeast USA. Broiler litter, however, may be applied to hay fields any time during the year. Consequently, the date and rate of application may influence yield and nutrient uptake. Litter was applied to 'Alicia' hybrid dbermudagrass at 9 and 18 Mg/ha as a single application in early April, May and June, or split-applied at the same rates in April and June, May and July and June and August. With few exceptions, P uptake by bermudagrass was positively associated with dry matter yield. At the lower application rate, annual P uptake by bermudagrass was greatest when litter was applied in May (51 kgP/ha). When litter rate was doubled, P uptake increased for applications made in April and June, but not in May, indicating that early May was the optimum time to apply litter. A split-application of either litter rate did not improve P uptake compared with a single application an in one case (May vs. May/July at 9 Mg/ha) reduced P uptake. The results suggest that to maximize annual P uptake, litter should be applied when bermudagrass begins growth in the spring.