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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Poultry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320426

Research Project: Optimizing Heavy Broiler Management and Housing Environment for Sustainable Production

Location: Poultry Research

Title: Effects of frequency of multiple applications of litter amendment on litter ammonia and live performance in a shared airspace

Author
item Purswell, Joseph
item DAVIS, J - Mississippi State University
item KIESS, A - Mississippi State University
item COUFAL, C - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2013
Publication Date: 7/25/2013
Citation: Purswell, J.L., Davis, J.D., Kiess, A.S., Coufal, C.D. 2013. Effects of frequency of multiple applications of litter amendment on litter ammonia and live performance in a shared airspace. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 22(3):469-473.

Interpretive Summary: Ammonia production during broiler flock cycles can negatively affect broiler health and productivity, as well as impact air and water quality. Typical management guidelines recommend aerial ammonia concentrations be limited to 25 ppm. However, concentrations in excess of this recommendation can occur during winter weather to maintain proper temperatures setpoints, particularly with young birds. Litter amendments are an effective means to reduce ammonia volatilization and are applied to the litter before chick placement. The effects of differing application frequencies of a litter amendment on bird performance and equilibrium litter NH3 concentrations were evaluated in this study. Treatments consisted of no amendment application (negative control), initial application before placement (positive control), and varied application schedules at 14, 28, and 43 d at 0.49 kg/m2 (100 lb/1,000 ft2). Repeated application of litter amendment did not affect live performance or foot pad quality. More frequent application of litter amendment significantly reduced equilibrium litter NH3 concentration when compared with the negative and positive controls. The most effective application program was biweekly, with significant reductions of litter ammonia concentrations of 56.6 and 21.8% at d 42 and 57, respectively. Therefore, repeated application during growout can effectively mitigate ammonia volatilization from litter without incurring reductions in live performance or foot pad quality.

Technical Abstract: Mitigation of ammonia (NH3) volatilization from litter is of particular interest given its effects on broiler health and production efficiency, as well as air and water quality concerns. Typical management guidelines recommend aerial NH3 concentrations be limited to 25 ppm. However, concentrations in excess of this recommendation are common in winter months due to limited minimum ventilation to conserve heat. Litter amendments are an effective means to reduce ammonia volatilization and are applied to the litter before chick placement. In this study, we evaluated the effects of differing application frequencies of a sodium bisulfate-based litter amendment on bird performance and equilibrium litter NH3 concentrations. Treatments consisted of no amendment application (negative control), initial application before placement (positive control), and varied application schedules at 14, 28, and 43 d at 0.49 kg/m2 (100 lb/1,000 ft2). Repeated application of litter amendment did not affect live performance or foot pad quality. More frequent application of litter amendment significantly reduced equilibrium litter NH3 concentration when compared with the negative and positive controls. The most effective application program was biweekly, with significant reductions of 56.6 and 21.8% at d 42 and 57, respectively. Therefore, repeated application during growout can effectively mitigate ammonia volatilization from litter without incurring reductions in live performance or foot pad quality.