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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Office of International Research Programs

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this project is to work with Jordanian biological systems engineers and poultry producers to reduce the pollution potential of organic agricultural wastes to surface and ground water through composting. The likelihood that on-farm poultry litter composting will become a standard practice adopted on a larger scale than the initial project will depend in part on demonstration of the efficiency and economic viability, and high product quality from the ‘first’ venture.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The ARS team will: •jointly plan and develop with the Jordanian team a poultry manure/litter composting operation (“Operation” may be to develop the specific simple approach or procedures of getting chicken manure collected and distributed to individual farmers, and their training so they can create their own compost for their farms. Large-scale production, marketing and distribution of compost is likely too expensive and sophisticated for Jerash at this time.) •provide guidance, consultation, training to the Jordanian team in composting methods and overcoming hurdles, •provide them with written and illustrated design, operational, and product utilization guidance materials, as well as monitoring, accounting, and other operation software. • to provide test methods and training to assess the quality and suitability of the product for meeting various agricultural and horticultural applications within environmental limits, •provide a workshop to train compost facility operators in Best Available Practices.

3. Progress Report
This report serves to document progress under an interagency agreement between the US Forest Service (USFS) and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to provide technical assistant to USAID/Jordan under the Pollution Prevention for Environmental Health Protection project (P2EHP), being implemented by Camp, Dresser and McKee International, Inc. (CDM). ARS provided technical advice on the project, “Poultry Litter Composting to Produce High Quality Product for Agricultural and Horticultural Uses project in Jordan.” Composting demonstration studies completed by P2EHP and overseen by ARS scientists involved chicken litter alone as well as blends of chicken litter amended with bamboo stalks and shredded branches/leaves. Results did not suggest that the addition of amendments improved performance so it is assumed for purposes of this analysis that the compost would include chicken litter alone. Data compiled under this study suggested last year that local poultry production and use of poultry litter is not a significant source of nutrients in groundwater pollution in the Jerash region. Data gathered this year under the study again showed no evidence that litter was piled up or stored where it might wash into local streams or leach into soils, in fact there appeared to be an active market for poultry litter, with prices high during planting season and low cost to producers in the off season. Poultry litter is usually not composted because there is not enough increased value in the composted material compared to the fertilizer value of raw litter, where more than 50% of the nitrogen in poultry litter is lost (i.e. volatilized as ammonia) during composting. There are additional challenges to composting litter in Jordan where water is scarce and there is relatively little biomass (trees, leaves) for mixing. No unique conditions in Jerash were observed that would alter the economics or environmental impacts of composting poultry litter relative to those in other countries. Additional costs for converting the manure to compost would include water and labor for pile turning. During the pilot testing it was determined that approximately 50 percent of the mass is lost. Therefore 2 tons of chicken manure is needed to be processed to produce 1 ton of compost. In summary, application of composted chicken manure would more than double the price of applying nitrogen fertilizer. It is unlikely, local farmers would be interested in paying this much higher price.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 07/23/2017
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