1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objectives of this cooperative research project are to: 1) determine spatial distribution, concentration, and types of mineral nutrients, gases, and microbes in poultry litter in a broiler house as affected by environment, house management, and successive broods of broilers; 2) determine base line and changes in pasture land as poultry litter is applied as a fertilizer; and 3) determine influence of environmental and agronomic practices on the fate and transport of nutrients and microbes from litter applied to pasture lands that have not previously had litter applied.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Work will be done on cooperator's farm in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. ARS will work with cooperator in establishment and maintenance of multi-year on farm experiments designed to identify, quantify, and determine the fate and transport of nutrients and microbes and to generate data and new information to improve efficient farm practices. ARS researchers will work with cooperator to collect litter, soil, runoff, and crop plant samples from the cooperator's farm. Samples will be transported to ARS Genetics and Precision Agriculture laboratories at Mississippi State, Mississippi, for nutrient and microbial analysis. Air samples will be collected systematically from the houses as they are stocked with birds and as subsequent flocks of birds are stocked and grown in the houses.
3. Progress Report
A study of the fate and transport of nutrients, bacteria, fungi, and air emissions in a new startup broiler farm that went into production in March 2009 was continued through the tenth continuous flock, which was harvested in February 2011. Measurements of environmental factors (temperature and moisture levels in ambient air, in litter beneath water and feeder lines, and adjacent to an outside wall) were continued in an instrumented production house. Regular written reports of these conditions were made to the cooperator. Litter samples from beneath feeder and water lines and near outside walls were collected for microbial and nutrient analyses after the third week of each flock. Cake litter samples for nutrient and air emissions analyses were collected at the end of each flock. Two new production houses were added to the farm in 2011 and samples of soil and litter were collected before, during, and after these new houses went into production. In April 2011, a new study of the first detections and subsequent rates of growth of selected bacterial populations in litter was begun in these two newest houses. First detections and rates of bacterial population growth in litter in the newest houses will be compared with those described above for houses that went into production in 2009. Effects of litter management on potential movement of bacteria from established to new production houses is also being examined. The ADODR monitored this project by frequent discussions and contact with the principal scientist involved in this research.