Location: Soil Dynamics ResearchTitle: Influence of poultry litter on nutrient availability and fate in plant-soil systems: A meta-analysis
Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2021
Publication Date: 4/19/2022
Citation: Lin, Y., Watts, D.B., Runion, G.B. 2022. Influence of poultry litter on nutrient availability and fate in plant-soil systems: A meta-analysis. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 77(3):230-239. https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.2022.00043.
Interpretive Summary: Numerous studies have shown that poultry litter (PL) can be used as a nutrient source for crop production. However, there has been conflicting views as to poultry litter’s influence on increasing soil fertility, plant nutrient uptake, and losses to the environment (ex. contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and N and P losses with runoff). Thus, a comprehensive review of 134 studies from the scientific literature was evaluated using meta-analysis (statistical methods used to combine results from multiple studies to identify common effects). Plant P and K uptake greatly improved with PL use when compared to inorganic fertilizers, while no improvements were observed for N uptake. Poultry litter was more effective at increasing soil CEC, pH, total C, total N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, and Zn concentrations than inorganic fertilizer. These results also showed that PL could potentially increase CO2 and N2O fluxes from soil, but decrease NO emissions. Surface applications of PL litter increased N and P losses in runoff, while subsurface banding PL lowered losses. Overall, this review showed that PL could effectively enhance plant nutrient uptake and improve soil fertility. Poultry litter applications to soil could also potentially increase nutrient losses to the environment depending management.
Technical Abstract: Interest in using poultry litter (PL) as a nutrient source for crop production has increased in recent years. Utilization of PL can increase soil residual nutrients, thereby potentially increasing soil sustainability and crop productivity. Conversely, PL additions may increase the fate and transport of nutrients to the environment. This study aimed to elucidate the influence of PL on plant nutrient uptake, soil fertility, and environmental issues as compared to inorganic fertilizer (IF) using a meta-analytic assessment. The synthesis was based on 134 studies (3362 comparisons). Effects of PL on plant macro- and micronutrients varied depending on the evaluated plant tissues. Leaves and stems generally had lower nutrient concentrations than reproductive parts. PL influenced plant nutrient uptake, with a slightly negative effect being observed for N but significant positive effects for P and K. Positive effects on soil fertility were also observed, with PL significantly increasing CEC, pH and soil C, total N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, and Zn concentrations compared to IF. Moreover, our results showed that PL application significantly increased CO2 and N2O fluxes, but decreased NO emission. Surface applications of PL significantly increased N and P loss in runoff, while subsurface-banded PL resulted in significantly lower losses. Overall, PL can be an effective nutrient source to enhance crop yield, increase plant nutrient uptake, and improve soil fertility.