Submitted to: Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2005
Publication Date: 4/29/2005
Citation: Armstrong, S.D., Tewolde, H., Way, T.R., Rowe, D.E., Sistani, K.R., Taylor, R.W. 2005. Subsurface band and surface broadcast application of poultry litter: effect on soil nitrogen spatial distribution. Mississippi Water Resources Research Conference Proceedings CD-ROM
Technical Abstract: Poultry litter N is vulnerable to volatilization loss when litter is surface-applied to fields as a fertilizer. Recently, engineers of the USDA-ARS at Auburn, AL have designed a new implement that applies litter in bands under the soil surface. Field research was conducted at the North Farm of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Starkville, MS to compare the effect of the new subsurface band application and the conventional surface broadcast application of litter on soil nitrogen distribution and concentration. Fertilizer treatments included no fertilizer (control), poultry litter (PL) surface broadcast before planting at 6720 kg/ha-1, and PL subsurface banded 20-cm from the center of the row before planting at 6720 kg/ha-1. Soil analysis results showed that application method does have an effect on the available N pool. When the litter was subsurface banded NH4-N was only elevated 20-cm from the center of the cotton row 24 days after application. Yet, average concentration of NH4-N across the row at the 0-15 cm depth was 47% greater when PL was subsurface banded than when PL was surface broadcast. The same trend applied to NO3-N concentration 24 days after litter application: NO3-N averaged across all sampled positions was 10% greater when subsurface band than when surface broadcast. These results suggest that applying poultry litter in bands under the surface can have a positive effect on the spatial distribution and concentration of inorganic soil N in close proximity to the root zone of cotton.