Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2010
Publication Date: 1/1/2011
Citation: Adeli, A., Shankle, M.W., Tewolde, H., Brooks, J.P., Sistani, K.R., McLaughlin, M.R., Rowe, D.E. 2011. Effect of surface incorporation of broiler litter applied to no-till cotton on runoff quality. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40:566-574.
Interpretive Summary: No-till cotton production in the southeastern USA has increased dramatically. In the Delta region of Mississippi, about 40% of the cotton production is produced using no-till. Recently, broiler litter has been applied to no-till cotton as an alternative source of N. Surface applications of manure to a no-till system without incorporation are extremely vulnerable to losses into surface waters, particularly when runoff occurs shortly after application while much of the N volatilizes. Elevated concentrations of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and heavy metals such as Cu and Zn from litter applications in surface runoff may degrade surface water quality. This study was conducted in an upland soil to determine if shallow incorporation of broiler litter into the top 5 cm soil surface in a no-till cotton affects runoff quality. Partial incorporation of broiler litter into the top surface soil resulted in reducing runoff volume, decreasing losses of nutrients, conserving nutrients in the soil as evidenced by soil nutrient concentration at the end of growing season. The results indicated that incorporation of broiler litter into the top surface soil in no-till cotton in an upland marginal soil could be a favorable option for minimization of surface nutrient losses and help retain nutrients in the soil which are agronomically and environmentally advantageous.
Technical Abstract: A 2-yr field study was conducted on an Atwood silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, thermic Typic Paleudalfs) marginal upland soil to evaluate if incorporation of broiler litter into the soil surface in a no-till cotton affect runoff nutrient concentrations. The treatments consisted of 7.8 Mg ha-1 broiler litter surface applied with no incorporation and incorporated into the top 5 cm soil, 101-20 kg N-P ha-1 inorganic fertilizer in which P was surface applied but N was injected, and a control with no litter of fertilizer application. Treatments were replicated three times. Runoff was collected manually after each rain event during the cotton growing season from May through October in 2004 and 2005. Incorporation of broiler litter into the top 5 cm soil increased total suspended solid by approximately 7% and reduced runoff volume by 38%, respectively, as compared to non-incorporation. However, no significant difference in total suspended solid was obtained between incorporating and nonincorporating treatments, indicating the potential soil loss with very shallow incorporating litter into the top surface soil does not exist. Partial incorporation of broiler litter into the top surface soil of no-till cotton in an upland soil resulted in reducing losses of C and nutrients in runoff, increasing C sequestration and conserving broiler litter derived nutrients including N, P, K, Cu and Zn in the soil as evidenced by soil nutrient concentrations at the end of growing season.