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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336695

Title: Spatial distribution of soil phosphorus, calcium, and pH following long-term broiler litter application

item JIANG, YING-YING - Shenyang Agricultural University
item SUN, ZHONG-XIU - Shenyang Agricultural University
item Owens, Phillip
item ADHIKARI, KABINDRA - University Of Arkansas
item WANG, QIU-BING - Shenyang Agricultural University
item DORANTES, MINERVA - Purdue University
item Read, John
item Ashworth, Amanda
item LIBOHOVA, ZAMIR - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2019
Publication Date: 4/18/2019
Citation: Jiang, Y., Sun, Z., Owens, P.R., Adhikari, K., Wang, Q., Dorantes, M., Read, J.J., Ashworth, A.J., Libohova, Z. 2019. Spatial distribution of soil phosphorus, calcium, and pH following long-term broiler litter application. Journal of Environmental Quality.

Interpretive Summary: Poultry litter is an outstanding source for nutrients on forage crops; however, overapplication may lead to nutrient runoff and degraded water quality. Prior to increased awareness of overapplication of nutrients, producers applied to the same pastures for many years. This study focused on discovering how water may redistribute nutirents over time. The study found that nutrients were redistributed; however, additional factors affected the concentration of nutrients such as cattle gathering locations, assumed application differences and proximity of fields to the poultry houses. This study also found that phosphorus accumulated over time and in different concentrations. This study leads to a spatial understanding of nutrients over long-term application of poultry litter.

Technical Abstract: This study assesses the potential for phosphorus (P) and calcium (Ca) redistribution and pH variance across the landscape due to water flow, as quantified by terrain attributes post 55-years of broiler litter applications on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) pastures in Smith County, Mississippi (31°49' N, 89°38' W). Results show that soils receiving broiler litter had mean P levels of 1222 mg kg-1 at 0-15 cm and 619 mg kg-1 from 15-30 cm depth, and Ca with mean values of 768 mg kg-1 and 645 mg kg-1 from 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm soil depth, respectively. Within fields, soils in areas of convergent flow contained higher P, Ca and lower pH values in the upper 15 cm suggesting contributions via surface overland flow from areas with higher elevation and lower slope gradient. On the other hand, soils in areas with lesser slope and higher elevation contained high levels of P, Ca and pH for the subsurface soil depth, suggesting vertical flow of water is a mechanism for moving P and Ca deeper in the soil profile. The incorporation of topography characteristics within fields offers promising results that may improve P indices, making them more robust indicators of P mobilization to waterways.