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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #206415

Title: Temporary Storage of Poultry Broiler Litter

item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Kornecki, Ted

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2006
Publication Date: 12/15/2006
Citation: Mitchell, C.C., Tyson, T.W., Torbert III, H.A., Kornecki, T.S. 2006. Temporary Storage of Poultry Broiler Litter. Alabama Mountains Rivers, and Valleys (AMRC) RC&D Council Grant.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Row crop farmers have been reluctant to use broiler litter on their crops because of the difficulty getting it transported and spread at planting time in the spring. Temporary field storage near the site of spreading will help with this problem and encourage more row crop farmers to use poultry litter as a source of nutrients, but few efforts have been made to document the potential for runoff from using different storage techniques. The objectives of this study were to evaluate conventional and alternative methods of temporary field storage of poultry broiler litter on litter quality and nutrient runoff. In 2006, 5 ton piles of chicken litter were used for temporary storage using litter covered with 6-mil polyethylene plastic, litter covered with commercially available HayGard® fabric, an uncovered pile, an uncovered, cone-shaped pile, an uncovered pile treated with a synthetic polymer to prevent water infiltration and a no litter control. The uncovered piles absorbed rainfall but also dried out on the surface rather rapidly in the spring. They also resulted in much higher runoff of all measured runoff parameters. Covered litter was wet on the surface from condensation under the cover, but generally resulted in less runoff of nutrients and maintained its fertilizer nutrient concentration. Exposed litter rapidly decomposed due to the wetting and drying effect. Dry broiler litter must be covered in order to protect litter quality and to prevent extensive nutrient runoff.