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Title: Canonical discrimination of the effect of a new broiler production facility on soil chemical profiles as related to current management practices

item Sheffield, Cynthia
item Crippen, Tawni - Tc
item Byrd Ii, James - Allen
item Beier, Ross
item Yeater, Kathleen

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2015
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Sheffield, C.L., Crippen, T.L., Byrd II, J.A., Beier, R.C., Yeater, K.M. 2015. Canonical discrimination of the effect of a new broiler production facility on soil chemical profiles as related to current management practices. PLoS One. 10:ed0128179. doi: 10.371/journal.pone.0128179.

Interpretive Summary: Broiler chickens are generally raised on bedding material like wood shavings or rice hulls. When this bedding material becomes mixed with chicken manure, feathers, and feed it is called litter. Because of increasing cost of new bedding materials, modern broiler producers are using the same litter for multiple flocks. However, extended use results in increased contamination of the litter with many elements, some of which are heavy metals (iron, zinc manganese and copper); and elevates other components such as nitrates, electrochemical conductivity, and salinity. The increase in nitrates, salinity, and heavy metals are of special concern to the producer because they are potential sources of environmental contamination. This study was conducted to determine the extent to which placement of a new broiler production facility affects foundation soil with respect to potential environmental contaminants, and to evaluate management practices to determine if they could diminish the potential for environmental contamination. The results clearly show that the management practice of total cleanout significantly reduces many of the elements and other components of environmental concern.

Technical Abstract: The effect dirt-floored broiler houses have on the underlying native soil and the potential for contamination of the ground water by leaching under the foundation of these houses is an understudied area. No research could be found in the literature which followed alterations in soil parameters from a native environment prior to placement of the poultry facility through several production cycles. This study was designed to examine alterations in fifteen quantitative parameters (Ca, Cu, electrical conductivity, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, NO3, organic matter, P, pH, S, soil moisture and Zn) of the soil foundation in a newly constructed dirt-floored broiler house over the first two years of production (Native through Flock 11). The experiment was conducted from February 2008 through August 2010 near NW Robertson County, Texas. The soil was a fine, smectitic thermic Udertic Paleustalfs, slopes ranged from zero to three percent. Multiple samples were collected from under each of three water and three feed lines the length of the house. To better define the relationship between the quantitative soil parameters and sampling times listed above, a canonical discriminant analysis approach was used. The soil profiles assembled into five distinctive clusters corresponding to time and management practices. The results work revealed that the level of the parameters mentioned above increase overtime and management practices such as periodic and total house cleanouts markedly altered soil profiles within the house foundation thus reducing the risk of infiltration into the ground water near the farm. This is important as most broiler farms consist of several houses within a small area, so the cumulative ecological impact could be substantial if not properly managed.