Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/4/2003
Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Citation: Sistani, K.R., Brink, G.E., Adeli, A., Tewolde, H., Rowe, D.E. 2004. Year-round soil nutrients dynamics from broiler litter application to bermudagrass cultivars. Agronomy Journal. 96:525-530.
Interpretive Summary: Understanding manure nutrients dynamics in soil under any crop is an important management practice for farmers and producers to document accountability and to use manure resources efficiently. Most areas with intensive domestic livestock and pasture systems have begun monitoring farm import and export of elemental nutrients. For a farm to be sustainable, its nutrient budget should be balanced, at least after soil background nutrient reserves are brought up to desired levels for sustainable production. This study was designed to evaluate the nutrients dynamics in soil throughout the year when broiler litter is the sole source of nutrients. Broiler litter is rich in P and some micronutrients relative to the quantities required by plants. As indicated by results of this study, P, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Zn may accumulate in soil receiving long-term broiler litter, unless proper litter application rates and maximization of crop removal are exercised. Therefore, budgeting of P may be required in areas where soil P concentration increases to the level of concern.
Technical Abstract: Environmentally, N and P are considered the most critical manure nutrients with regard to buildup in soil, surface runoff, and loss to the atmosphere. A field plot experiment was conducted to quantify input, output, and the year-round major plant nutrients dynamic in a fine sandy loam soil supplied with 15.75 Mg ha-1 yr-1 broiler litter. Soil samples were collected from pre-established plots of Common and hybrids Coastal and Tifton 85 bermudagrass cultivars for nutrient analysis. Hybrids Coastal and Tifton 85 bermudagrass produced significantly greater annual DM yield (16,948 and 18,772 kg ha-1, respectively) than Common bermudagrass (11,238 kg ha-1). On average, Tifton 85 was most efficient and removed 344, 58, and 472 kg ha-1 N, P, and K from soil, while the quantity of these nutrients supplied by broiler litter were 471, 328, and 414 kg ha-1, respectively. Therefore, removal efficiency of these nutrients for Tifton 85 (the most efficient) was 73, 18, and 114%, respectively. Total N decreased slightly during the high demand stage for N by bermudagrass. The NO3-N concentration of soil surface was greater than NH4-N at all sampling dates. Both total P and Mehlich-3 extractable P concentrations increased from first to last sampling dates, mainly in the 5-10 cm depth, indicating slight buildup and leaching of P. Results indicated that top yield from hybrid bermudagrass cultivars are possible with broiler litter as a sole fertilizer source. However, considerable nutrient imbalances in soil may occur in the long-term, if improper litter rates are used.