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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Poultry Litter Application
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Impacts of Poultry Litter Application to Cropland and Rangeland Watersheds

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Funded in Part through a TSSWCB EPA/?319 Grant

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  • R. Daren Harmel, USDA-ARS - Principal Investigator
  • Rick Haney, USDA-ARS
  • Monty Dozier, TAMU
  • Doug Smith, USDA-ARS

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litter truck

      Project Summary

  • Poultry litter application rates 0 - 6 tons/acre
  • Apply poultry litter to crop fields, pastures,
    small plots
  • 1m 2plots to small watersheds (3-21 ac)
  • Research grant from TSSWCB

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Collect data on water quality, crop yields, and management to evaluate:

Runoff water quality (edge of field and downstream)
Crop yield impact
Economic considerations
Scale differences
Best Management Practices (BMPs) on small plots
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Publications and Presentations


  • Harmel, R.D., K.L. Wagner, E. Martin, T.J. Gentry, R. Karthikeyan, M. Dozier, and; C. Coufal. 2013. Impact of poultry litter application and land use on E. coli runoff from small agricultural watersheds. Biological Engineering Transactions 6(1):3-16.Publication



  • Harmel, R.D. , R.L. Haney, and D.R. Smith. 2011. Effects of annual turkey litter application on surface soil quality of a Texas blackland vertisol. Soil Science 176(5):227-236. Publication

  • Harmel, R.D., D.R. Smith, R.L. Haney and M. Dozier. 2009. Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from cropland and pasture fields fertilized with poultry litter. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 64(6):400-402. Publication

  • Harmel, R.D., R. Haney, D. Smith, M. Dozier, B. Harmel, M. Patterson, and J. Smith. 2008. Environmental and Economic Impacts of Poultry Litter Fertilization in Central Texas. Presentation

  • Harmel, R.D. , B. Harmel, and M.C. Patterson. 2008. On-Farm Agro-Economics Effects of Fertilizing Cropland with Poultry Litter. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 17:545-555. Publication

  • Vadas, P.A., R.D. Harmel , and P.J.A. Kleinman. 2007. Transformations of soil and manure phosphorus after surface application of manure to field plots. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 77:83-99. Publication

  • Green C.H., J.G. Arnold , J.R. Williams, R. Haney , and R.D. Harmel. 2007. Soil and Water Assessment Tool hydrologic and water quality evaluation of poultry litter application to small-scale subwatersheds in Texas. Transactions of ASABE 50(4):1199-1209. Publication

  • Wang, X., R.D. Harmel, J.R. Williams, and W.L. Harman. 2006. Evaluation of EPIC for assessing crop yield, runoff, sediment and nutrient losses from watersheds with poultry litter fertilization. Transactions of ASABE 49(1):47-59. Publication

  • Acosta-Martinez, V. and R.D. Harmel. 2006.Soil microbial communities and enzyme activities under various poultry litter application rates. Journal of Environmental Quality 35(4):1309-1318. Publication

  • Harmel, R.D., H.A. Torbert, P.B. DeLaune, B.E. Haggard, and R. Haney. 2005. Field Evaluation of Several Phosphorus Index Methods on New Application Sites. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 60(1):29-42. Publication

  • Torbert, H.A.,R.D. Harmel, K.N. Potter, and M. Dozier. 2005. Evaluation of Some P Index Criteria in Cultivated Agriculture in Clay Soil. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 60(1):21-29. Publication

  • Harmel, R.D., H.A. Torbert, B.E. Haggard, R. Haney, and M. Dozier. 2004. Water Quality Impacts of Converting to a Poultry Litter Fertilization Strategy. Journal of Environmental Quality 33(6):2229-2242. Publication

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Last Modified: 3/15/2017
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