1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Research: (1) Develop a practical technology for subsurface application of poultry litter into reduced tillage soils (no-till) that does not exacerbate leaching losses of nutrients; (2) Quantify the effects of subsurface application on crop response, nutrient and trace element losses, and odor emissions. Extension: (1) Transfer the dry litter incorporation technology to farmers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; (2) Provide education on odor management to stakeholder farmers, and training of University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) microbiology faculty; (3) Improve UMES-stakeholder farmer collaborating relations. Education: Enhance UMES teaching curricula by infusing various aspects (odor management) of the project research components into targeted classes.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Field research trials will be conducted to evaluate agronomic and environmental performance of the USDA-ARS Subsurfer in comparison with conventional methods of litter application. Research will primarily be conducted at UMES’s Research & Teaching Farm in Princess Anne, MD, with additional agronomic field trials conducted on at least five stakeholder farms in the surrounding area as part of the outreach phase of this project. Teaching will be linked to research objectives of the project providing experiential training for students in engineering design and technology development.
3. Progress Report:
Field trials were established in Maryland and Pennsylvania to advance the Subsurfer technology. In Maryland, poultry litter was applied with the Subsurfer and by conventional broadcast application to field plots at the UMES Research Farm (Princess Anne, MD) as well as to two commercial operations located near Crisfield, MD. Periodic ammonia emission measurements were made during the three day period following litter application at Rock Springs, PA in the May, 2012. Litter incorporation with the Subsurfer nearly eliminated the emission, with a approximate reduction of 95% compared to surface application of the litter.