Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391724

Research Project: Sustaining Productivity and Ecosystem Services of Agricultural and Horticultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Influence of broiler litter band positioning on cotton growth and yield in a Blackland Prairie soil

item Watts, Dexter
item Way, Thomas - Tom

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/23/2022
Publication Date: 3/21/2023
Citation: Watts, D.B., Way, T.R. 2023. Influence of broiler litter band positioning on cotton growth and yield in a Blackland Prairie soil. Agronomy Journal.

Interpretive Summary: New Technology has been developed to apply broiler litter in bands below the soil surface. This technology is being evaluated in multiple locations across the US as a potential management practice to reduce phosphorus loss from agricultural fields. These evaluations are also showing that this technology may increase crop yield. Presently, it is recommended that the subsurface -applied broiler litter should be applied in bands approximately 15 cm from crop rows. However, this is based on recommendations given for liquid inorganic fertilizer. A study was conducted to determine the best distance for applying the subsurface bands of broiler litter from crop rows for producing the greatest cotton yield and growth. Results from this study showed that the greatest benefit was observed when subsurface bands were placed 20 cm or less from crop rows.

Technical Abstract: Subsurface band application of poultry litter in soil is being evaluated across the US as a potential management practice for curbing phosphorus (P) loss and improving nutrient retention. This management practice also shows promise for increasing yields of row crop systems. Determining the optimum plant distance from the subsurface banded broiler litter (BL) could be useful to optimize crop yields. Thus, a cotton experiment was established to investigate the distance of a subsurface BL band from the planted row, on cotton growth and yield. Treatments consisted of subsurface banding BL 0, 10, 20, 30 cm besides the crop row plus a nonfertilized check, broadcasted BL, and banding of urea-ammonium nitrate at 20 cm to the side of row as controls. Differences in yield and growth parameters were observed in 2012 and 2013. Placing BL in subsurface bands increased cotton yield compared to surface broadcasting the litter. When comparing BL band positions, cotton lint yield was greatest when BL was placed in subsurface bands 20 cm or less from the planted row. Minimal differences were observed among treatments for cotton fiber quality. Results suggest that distance between the cotton row and a subsurface BL band can influence cotton growth and yield.