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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #299505

Research Project: Using Agricultural and Industrial Byproducts to Improve Crop Production Systems and Environment Quality

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: A method for subsurface-banding poultry litter in plots not accessible with conventional field equipment

Author
item Lamba, Jasmeet
item Way, Thomas - Tom
item Srivastava, Puneet
item Watts, Dexter

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/9/2015
Publication Date: 8/11/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/4555723
Citation: Lamba, J., Way, T.R., Srivastava, P., Watts, D.B. 2015. A method for subsurface-banding poultry litter in plots not accessible with conventional field equipment. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 31(4):555-558.

Interpretive Summary: Broiler chicken litter is a mixture of chicken manure and a bedding material, and is commonly used as a fertilizer on pastures and cropland in broiler-producing areas. Poultry litter is typically land-applied by broadcasting the litter over the soil surface. Rain falling on soil to which poultry litter has been applied, may carry phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) nutrients from the soil into streams, lakes, and other water bodies and may cause P and N to leach down into the soil profile. Phosphorus from fields fertilized with broiler litter contributes to eutrophication and growth of toxic algae in surface waters. A prototype implement for applying poultry litter in shallow trenches and covering the litter with soil has been developed at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Lab in Auburn, AL. This subsurface band application of litter performs well in reducing nutrients in runoff and in leachate. Some arrangements of research plots in the field, such as plots having adjacent pits in the soil, prevent the use of conventional field equipment because the tires of the equipment cannot traverse the pits. A small trenching device and a method using a forklift were developed for subsurface band application of poultry litter in plots where conventional field equipment such as a tractor and trailing implement cannot be used. The trencher and method worked well for making trenches in plots in a field experiment. Broiler litter was applied in the trenches and the experiment investigated P and N in runoff and leachate during rainfall.

Technical Abstract: Subsurface band application of poultry litter has been shown to be effective in reducing nutrients in runoff and leachate, relative to surface broadcast application of litter. Some field plot arrangements, such as plots having adjacent pits in the soil, prevent the use of conventional field equipment because the equipment cannot traverse the pits. A small trencher and a method using a forklift were developed for making trenches in soil for subsurface band application of poultry litter in plots where conventional field equipment such as a tractor and trailing implement cannot be used. A cantilever beam was mounted to the forklift and the trencher was attached to the end of the beam. The forklift was upslope or downslope from the plots and the forklift traveled parallel to the lengths of the trenches that were formed, so it was not necessary for a vehicle to attempt to traverse the pits. The method was used for subsurface band application of broiler litter in rainfall simulation plots which had a pit on each side of each plot. The pits enabled installation of wick and zero-tension pan lysimeters beneath the plots. The method worked well for making trenches in plots in this field experiment. Broiler litter was applied in the trenches and the experiment investigated phosphorus and nitrogen in runoff and leachate during rainfall simulation.