Submitted to: Soil and Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2016
Publication Date: 8/24/2016
Citation: Adeli, A., Dabney, S.M., Tewolde, H., Jenkins, J.N. 2016. Effects of tillage and broiler litter on crop productions in an eroded soil. Soil and Tillage Research. 165:198-209.
Interpretive Summary: Although the benefits of PL applications for agricultural production systems are apparent, little work has been conducted to determine the direct benefit of poultry litter on crop production in eroded/degraded soils. The beneficial effects of poultry litter on crop yield in degraded soil could be related to improving soil quality from poultry litter application. Poultry litter contains approximately 39% C, which has the potential to remediate eroded soils by increasing soil organic C. In addition to the direct effect of PL on soil quality and crop yields, the integration of poultry litter into other management practices such as crop rotation and conservation tillage can have an synergistic effect on not only productivity of the system but also the influence of poultry litter applications. Crop rotations have positive effects on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties due to higher C inputs and diversity of plant residues returned to soils in comparison with continuous monoculture cotton. The combination of crop rotation and manure applications may support crop yield and improve soil quality. However, the synergistic effect of these two management practices on remediation of eroded soils in Southeast U.S. and particularly in Mississippi agro-ecosystems is scarce. Considerable work has been carried out on the application of broiler litter for improvement of the soil physiochemical conditions and enhanced crop production. However, not much attention has been devoted to determine the effects of long-term broiler litter application on the restoration and quality of degraded soil. Implementation of cropping system with application of broiler litter may lead to significant changes in the properties of an eroded soil in the plow layer. These changes may have significant impact on the soil quality and hence the sustainability of crop production. We hypothesize that the integration of poultry manure with conservation practices improves the quality of eroded soil and enhance crop production. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of integration of poultry manure with tillage and crop rotation practices on the quality improvement of eroded soil and crop production.
Technical Abstract: Soils in the southeastern United States, where the climate is subtropical, are severely eroded from intense row crop agriculture many years ago. This study was initiated in 2005 at the Plant Material Center, NRCS, in Coffeeville MS, on an Loring silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, thermic, Glossic Fragiudalf) soil with 1-3% slope to determine the impact of integration of poultry manure with tillage and crop rotation practices on the quality improvement of eroded soil and crop production. Broiler litter at low (9 Mg ha-1) and high (18 Mg ha-1) rates were applied as N source to corn grown under no-tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT) (2005 and 2007). Wheat were grown in 2006 and 2008 in the same plots had previously received broiler litter. Broiler litter significantly increased corn grain yield, grain N nutrition and harvest index and the effects was greater by 40, 42 and 12%, respectively with conventional tollage than no-till system. The effects of residual broiler litter on wheat grain and grain N uptake was significant only at the high rate. Soil acidity (pH) was increased with increasing broiler litter applications at the 0-15 cm. Soil extractable P with high manure substantially increased, 26.7 mg kg–1, compared with the control at the surface 0 to 15 cm. The change in soil organic carbon (SOC) associated with high manure was greater by 44% compared to the unfertilized control. This suggests that the use of broiler litter as N source improved soil nutrient dynamics in this eroded site and indirectly impacted corn and wheat grain yield and N nutrition.