1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Determine feasibility of variable rate litter applications in optimizing yield across the farm. Test selected chicken litter fertilization plans based on preliminary small-plot research results and published knowledge against conventional inorganic fertilization to help accelerate the adoption of effective, efficient, and safe broiler chicken litter use for corn production in Mississippi.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Test the following fertilizaton plans in a commercial farm setting: (1) Standard conventional commercial fertilizers applied in the spring as farm standard. (2) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the spring to supply N equivalent to the farm standard assuming 50% litter N availability. No other fertilizers needed. (3) Raw broiler chicken applied in the fall to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the full N requirement of corn. This is a new farm practice that does not take into account litter N applied in the fall. (4) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the fall to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the N requirement of corn after accounting for litter N applied in the fall. (5) Raw broiler chicken litter applied in the spring to supply P. Then commercial N fertilizer is applied in the spring to meet the N requirement of corn after accounting for litter N. Soil nutrient concentration before and after harvest, plant tissue nutrient concentration, mid-season growth based on meter readings, and grain yield will be used to identify a more efficient and profitable fertilization plan. Aerial imagery and yield monitor data will be combined to determine value of variable rate litter applications for optimizing yields across the farm.
3. Progress Report
This research was initiated on a 20-acre farm to test selected chicken litter fertilization plans for corn production based on preliminary small-plot research results and published knowledge as compared with conventional inorganic fertilization. Uncomposted raw broiler litter was applied according to plan but persistent rains prevented planned application of liquid N and, therefore, only one uniform rate of N was applied. Soil samples and planned aerial spectral readings were taken along with chlorophyll index readings on individual leaves twice at the silking stage and one month later. The ADODR monitored this project by discussions with the principal scientist involved in this research. The principal scientist has frequent contact with the cooperator.