Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2005
Publication Date: 6/25/2005
Citation: Tewolde, H., Sistani, K.R., Rowe, D.E., Adeli, A., Johnson, J.R. 2005. Applying poultry litter in the fall diminishes its fertilizer value. Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings CD-ROM
Technical Abstract: Applying poultry litter in the fall to cotton and other row crops may be a practical option for farmers that have no time to manage litter application in the spring. However, whether fall-applied litter is as effective as spring-applied litter is not well investigated. On-farm research conducted at three locations in Mississippi indicated that applying litter in the fall may not be as effective as applying litter in the spring. Cotton responded very poorly to broiler litter in two of three years at Macon, MS where the litter was applied in the fall. Broiler litter applied in the fall at this location increased lint yield by only 62 lbs lint acre-1 ton-1 litter in 2003 and by 40 lint acre-1 ton-1 litter in 2004 compared with 230 lbs acre-1 ton-1 litter in 2002. The yield response to litter at two other locations in 2003 and 2004 where the litter was applied shortly before or after planting in the spring ranged between 121 and 161 lbs acre-1 ton-1 litter. These results suggest that there is substantial risk of mineralization and loss of mineralized litter-N before planting when litter is applied in the fall. We suspect leaching and denitrification as the primary causes of N loss when soil moisture and temperature conditions in the fall and winter after applying litter are ideal for the mineralization of litter-N.