Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2016
Publication Date: 6/17/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/62701
Citation: Adeli, A., Mccarty Jr, J.C., Read, J.J., Willers, J.L., Jenkins, J.N., Feng, G.G. 2016. Subsurface banding, placement of pelletized poultry litter in cotton. Agronomy Journal. 108(4):1356-1366.
Interpretive Summary: Traditionally, broiler litter is applied as surface broadcast which exposes litter derived-nutrients to potential loss and reduction in fertilizer value. While incorporation is effective in conserving N, the greatest loss may actually take place during surface broadcast application and before incorporation. Management practices that minimize volatilization loss of nutrients and retain more of the organic compounds and nutrients in the root zone, may help to mitigate this problem while making more of the nutrients available for the crop and improving soil quality. Placing poultry litter in narrow bands below the soil surface near the row of plants is a relatively new application and has been practiced as a successful technique for significant reduction of nutrient losses. In recent years poultry producers have turned to pelletized poultry litter (PPL) to increase the economic feasibility of litter transportation, handling, and its value as an alternative fertilizer to farmers and growers. The fertilizer-N value and response of cotton to PPL relative to inorganic-N needs to be investigated to provide information for growers be interested in utilizing PPL as a source of N. An experimental applicator has been developed at Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research Unit at Mississippi State which places the pelletized litter in a band 15 cm to both sides of the center of the seed bed and covered the manure all in one operation. We hypothesized that applying PPL in subsurface band would provide available nutrients, minimize nutrient loss, increase crop yield and improve soil physical and microbial activities. The objectives of this study was to determine the effects of precise sub-surface banding of PPL relative to injected inorganic fertilizer at equivalent available N rate on cotton growth, yield, and soil quality characteristics and to evaluate if use of irrigation and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum along with N sources affect plant growth and soil quality.
Technical Abstract: Alternative management of broiler (Gallus gallus domesticus ) litter in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production is needed to effectively capture nutrients in the root zone and enable greater crop utilization of land-applied nutrients and hence yield . This four-year study compared the growth, lint yield, and soil quality in cotton fertilized with pelletized poultry litter (PPL) sub-surface band applied at the rate of 6.7 Mg ha-1, inorganic fertilizer injected at the recommended rate of 134 kg N ha-1, and unfertilized control. Irrigation and FGD gypsum treatments were applied broadcast as main and sub-plot, respectively. Although leaf chlorophyll content, leaf area index and total aboveground biomass were greater (P<0.05) with inorganic N fertilizer than with PPL, these treatments had similar lint yield in 2010 and 2011 but lint yield in PPL was greater by 6 and 21% compared to inorganic N fertilizer in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Averaged across years, lint yield was 5% greater with PPL than inorganic N fertilizer (1378 vs. 1303 kg ha-1). Irrigation treatment increased plant P and K utilization but did not enhance cotton lint yield. Applying PPL significantly enhanced soil fertility, improved soil physical properties by increasing soil C, minimized post-harvest residual NO3-N concentration in soil profile and gives growers alternative approach to more nutrient management practices.