Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/22/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: To address soil heavy metal contamination and livestock grass tetany associated with land application of poultry litter, we compared applications of raw and composted poultry litter to tall fescue pasture. We hypothesized that the greater amounts of organic matter and higher pH typically found in acid soils treated with composted litter would lead to heavy metal complexation and, therefore, lower metal availability when compared to raw litter treatments. Soils at two Georgia sites, an alfisol and an ultisol, received surface applied treatments of raw poultry litter, composted poultry litter, inorganic N-P-K, and a control in a randomized block design in 1992. Soil and plant samples were taken in 1992-93 and again in 1995 at both sites. These samples were assayed for Mehlich I extractable micronutrients and metal ions in addition to soil measurements of total and available C, pH, moisture, and bulk density. Raw litter treatments showed greater availability of potentially toxic metals than compost treatments. While composted litter treatments exhibited greater increases of organic C and pH than raw litter, higher potentials for P overloading and Mg imbalances in compost treatments were also observed. Results have soil quality implications for poultry waste management, livestock grazing, and soil restoration.