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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308681

Title: Soybean yield and nutrient utilization following long-term pelletized broiler litter application to cotton

item Adeli, Ardeshir
item Read, John
item McCarty, Jack
item Jenkins, Johnie
item Feng, Gary

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2015
Publication Date: 5/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Adeli, A., Read, J.J., McCarty Jr., J.C., Jenkins, J.N., Feng, G.G. 2015. Soybean yield and nutrient utilization following long-term pelletized broiler litter application to cotton. Agronomy Journal. 107:1128-1134.

Interpretive Summary: As agricultural input costs have narrowed growers’ profits, interest in using broiler litter as an important source of plant nutrient has increased. Unlike inorganic fertilizer, broiler litter is an organic fertilizer, and its derived nutrients, particularly nitrogen (N), are released slowly and persist in the soil beyond the year of application. Since only a fraction of N in the broiler litter become available in the year of application, the residual effects of broiler litter application may maintain subsequent crop yield after manure application ceases. The residual effect of manure application has been reported where excessive rates of manure had been applied. Few studies have evaluated the residual effects of fresh broiler litter on crop production and soil properties at rates that are agronomically sound. Applying livestock manure to soil can enhance soil fertility and crop growth; however, no information is available on the residual effects of manure on row crops where manure was subsurface banded. To achieve full economic benefit from manure application and to minimize nitrate losses to surface and ground water, a greater understanding of the residual effects of manure application is needed. In recent years poultry producers have turned to pelletization of litter to increase the economic feasibility of transporting and handling of poultry litter. Since physical and chemical properties of pelletized poultry litter (PPL) are different from fresh broiler litter, it may have different behavior when applied to the soil, and the information obtained from residual effects of fresh broiler litter on crop production may not be useful if pelletized litter is used as an organic fertilizer. The objective of our study was to determine the residual effects of pelletized broiler litter application to cotton on soybean growth, yield and nutrient utilization.

Technical Abstract: Broiler litter may have long-lasting plant growth benefits after application is terminated. A study was conducted to determine the residual effects of pelletized litter relative to inorganic fertilizer applied to cotton in previous years on growth and yield of soybean. Experimental design was a randomized complete block with three treatments replicated four times. Treatments included pelletized broiler litter subsurface banded to cotton at the rate of 6.7 Mg ha-1, urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN solution) injected at the rate of 134 kg N ha-1 and unfertilized control. Soybean height was determined at 28, 42, 56, 71, 86, 102 and 115 days after planting. Total aboveground biomass, leaf area index (LAI) and tissue nutrient concentrations were determined at growth stage R5. Soybean yield and plant nutrient concentrations were higher in pelletized broiler litter than fertilizer N. Soybean in plots that received pelletized litter was significantly (P < 0.05) taller and had greater leaf-area than other treatments. Total aboveground biomass at R5 did not differ between residual pelletized litter and residual fertilizer N treatment; however soybean grain yield was greatest for residual pelletized litter. Grain N, P and K uptake were significantly greater in plots that received pelletized litter than commercial fertilizer except in 2011, when residual fertilizer N had greater effects on grain N uptake than residual pelletized litter. Soil nutrient concentrations at 0-15 cm depth were greatest in residual pelletized litter treatment and did not differ between other previous fertility treatments. Results indicated pelletized litter applied to cotton for three years continued to have positive residual effects on soybean growth and yield in response to improved soil fertility that lasted beyond the first year of application.