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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Poultry Litter Ash: A Potential Fertilizer Source for Agricultural Crops

item Codling, Eton
item Sherwell, John

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2007
Publication Date: 2/22/2007
Citation: Codling, E.E., Sherwell, J. 2007. Poultry Litter Ash: A Potential Fertilizer Source for Agricultural Crops [abstract].

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: The Maryland Eastern Shore is densely populated with poultry houses. Over 65 million broilers are produced annually in this area. Stricter regulations of litter disposal on high P soils require that the 50 thousand tons of poultry litter produced annually be disposed of in ways that minimize environmental degradation. One alternative is to burn poultry litter for electricity generation. The dry ash could be transported and applied to acidic low P soils such as those found on coal strip mines. The ash contains high levels of total Ca, P and K, and should be a useful lime and fertilizer; but the availability of these nutrients for crops is unknown. The objectives of this experiment are to: 1) compare the P availability in poultry litter ash (PLA) to potassium phosphate (KH2PO4) and 2) determine the calcium carbonate (lime) effect of PLA on P and metals uptake by wheat grown in strongly acidic soils. Poultry litter ash and KH2PO4 were mixed with limed (pH 6.5) and un-limed (pH 4.48) Gilpin Silt Loam soil at 0, 39 and 78 kg P ha-1, and planted with “Renville” wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Lime increased wheat yield. Yield was slightly higher with the no lime + 78 kg/ha PLA treatment. However, there were no significant differences in yield between the two P sources when lime was added. Tissue P concentrations were higher in plants treated with PLA than KH2PO4. Tissue Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, Ni and Cd concentrations from the PLA treatments were no higher than those from KH2PO4 and control treatments. Soil pH, water-soluble-P and Mehlich-3 extractable-P concentrations were higher in the PLA amended soil than in the control and KH2PO4 treatments at the highest levels, but should pose no threat to the environment when applied at P requirement PLA was most effective for wheat growth when applied to limed soil.

Last Modified: 07/27/2017
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