Location: Soil Dynamics ResearchTitle: Subsurface banding vs.surface broadcasting of poultry litter effects on nutrient losses to surface water runoff from a no-tillage corn cropping system
Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2018
Publication Date: 9/24/2018
Citation: Watts, D.B., Way, T.R. 2018. Subsurface banding vs.surface broadcasting of poultry litter effects on nutrient losses to surface water runoff from a no-tillage corn cropping system. In: Proceedings of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization Meeting, September 24-27, 2018, Paris, France. p. 269-133.
Interpretive Summary: Technology has recently been developed at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory (NSDL) to subsurface band apply poultry litter in soil. A study was conducted to evaluate the influence of using this technology in a corn cropping system on P loss. Subsurface banding of poultry litter was compared to surface applied poultry litter, surface banding of poultry litter, inorganic fertilizer, and a nonfertilized control. Artificial rainfall was created using a rainfall simulator to generate surface water runoff. The standard practice, surface broadcasting of poultry litter, resulted in the greatest P loss with surface water runoff. Placing poultry litter in bands 5 -10 cm below the soil surface using the new experimental implement reduced P losses to that observed with the nonfertilized control. This study shows that subsurface banding of PL in soil can reduce P loss compared to the traditional fertilization practices.
Technical Abstract: Poultry litter (PL) is often used as an alternative nutrient source for crop production in the southeastern U.S. Historically, PL has been broadcast applied on the soil surface, leaving the nutrients susceptible to runoff. Developments made in recent years allow for placing PL in narrow bands below the soil surface. This technological advancement could potentially reduce P loss to surface water runoff. Thus, a study was conducted at the Piedmont Agricultural Research Unit located in CampHill AL, USA to evaluate the influence of banding PL on P loss. Treatments consisted of surface banded PL, subsurface banded PL (3-5 cm below the surface), broadcasted PL, broadcasted commercial fertilizer (CF; urea and triple superphosphate [TSP] blend) and a nonfertilized control. The PL was applied at a rate of 168 kg total N ha-1 and CF was applied at a rate of 45 kg P ha-1. The greatest loss of ortho-P and total P occurred with surface application of PL. The subsurface banded PL treatment reduced P concentration loss in surface water runoff to levels of the control. These results show that subsurface band-applied PL can greatly reduce the impact of P loss to the environment when compared to conventional surface-applied PL and CF practices.