Source: VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
NUTRIENT COMPOSITION ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF POULTRY LITTER
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0194564
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
VAX-521290
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2002
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2006
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
ATALAY, A.
Recipient Organization
VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
PETERSBURG,VA 23803
Performing Department
AGRICULTURE
Non Technical Summary
The nutrient content of poultry litter and runoff studies will be evaluated using field plots and laboratory procedures.
Animal Health Component
65%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
25%
Applied
65%
Developmental
10%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1020110119015%
1020199204030%
1120320200020%
1120399119010%
1330210119010%
1333220205015%
Goals / Objectives
1. To identify the chemical composition of poultry manure and specify those components that are related to nitrogen and phosphorus availability. 2. To evaluate the potential use of various native grasses for nutrient retention from poultry manure-amended plots under simulated rain conditions.
Project Methods
Poultry manure from five poultry growers will be collected from growout houses. Samples will be divided into two: one for organic and another for inorganic nutrient sources. Percent carbon and total metals will be assayed using various analytical instruments. Samples will be analyzed in triplicates and results subjected to SAS analysis. Runoff studies will be conducted on plots that vary with slope. Poultry manure will be incorporated in the soil by tillage. Simulated rain at varied intensities will generate runoff. Native grasses will be used as best management practice to retain nutrients.

Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/06

Outputs
Poultry litter continues to be produced in large quantities throughout the country and used in agricultural soils as supplemental fertilizer. This has emanated growing concerns due to the deleterious effects of phosphorus and nitrogen in the litter on aquatic organisms. This project was initiated to address the sources of nitrogen and phosphorus in litter, identify the soil components that absorb phosphorus, and to conduct runoff studies to evaluate the nutrient value of poultry litter. The proposed objectives were successfully accomplished, except for objective 1. The major nitrogen-bearing organic compounds in poultry manure would be amino acids, albeit free nitrogen (ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite) is abundant. Similarly phosphorus-bearing organic compounds would include phytate, inositol, and phospholipids. If present, these organic compounds would be found in microgram levels. Like several other studies in the literature, attempts to isolate organic compounds in poultry litter failed to provide discernable results. Phosphorus in soils is primarily held by clay and colloidal fractions. The type of soil or clay and fineness of grind have significant influence on phosphorus sorption. Addition of poultry manure in agricultural soils increased yield of corn and soybean. Use of lime, alum, and ferrous sulfate in litter amended soils enhanced soil aggregate stability. Rainfall simulation studies indicated that loss of P from poultry litter amended soil could be minimized using native grasses as buffer zone. Poultry litter is being recognized as a major source of plant nutrients that brings down the cost of fertilizers to the farmer. Consequently it is being used in abundance in most agricultural soils. However, it also has an environmental drawback since high phosphorus and nitrogen in litter cause eutrophication in productive waters. This study indicated that use of agriculturally friendly chemicals; such as lime, alum and ferrous sulfate would reduce phosphorus loss from agricultural fields by causing soil aggregate stability.

Impacts
Use of poultry litter in agricultural soils serves as slow release fertilizer by providing essential nutrients to crops during actively growing seasons; it also improves water-holding capacity and soil aggregate stability. Use of native grasses as buffer zones around the perimeter of the field would reduce runoff loss of phosphorus and other soluble nutrients present in the litter. All soils are not suitable to receive poultry litter; the type of clay and soil texture are important factors that determine suitability.

Publications

  • A. Atalay, C. Bronick, S. Pao, W. Mersie, A. Kalantari, B. Whitehead. 2007. Nutrient and microbial Dynamics in Biosolids Amended Soils Following Rainfall Simulation. J. Soil and Sediment Contamination. 16(2):1-11.
  • A. Atalay, C.J. Bronick, W. Whitehead. 2007. Chemical Fixation of Phosphorus in Manure Amended Soils. J. Soil and Sediment Contamination (in review).


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Nutrient runoff from agricultural fields is known to contaminate receiving streams and cause eutrophication. Grass covers are recommended to retain excess nutrients. This study examined the effectiveness of native and planted Bermuda grasses (Cynodon doctylon) to retard the flow of nutrients from soils that received poultry manure. Six treatments, three replications and two grasses were randomly assigned to four blocks in a greenhouse setting. Poultry litter, alum and lime were each applied at 2.5 Mg/ha. It was predicted that use of alum and lime with grass would serve as a better deterrent to nutrient loss than grass or amendment alone. The study used 30x32x15.5 cm plastic containers packed with Bourne soil to its bulk density. After the grasses were established, they were clipped three times to encourage root development. The clippings were acid digested and analyzed for nutrient elements. Moisture and temperature in the soil was monitored every hour using a CR10X data logger attached to moisture probes embedded in each plastic container. Simulated rain was applied at 65 mm per hour for 45 minutes and runoff as well as percolation samples were collected. Water samples were assayed for nutrient composition; and the resulting data was analyzed using SAS. Grass growth (both tops and roots) was highest with poultry litter and alum. Elemental analysis of tops showed Ca, K, Mg and P accumulating in significantly higher levels in litter +alum and litter + lime treatments.

Impacts
Planting grass around an agricultural field is considered to be one of the best management practices recommended to prevent nutrient runoff. The poultry industry uses alum to fix soluble phosphorus in the litter, which is used on agricultural soils. Use of poultry litter in agricultural soils saves the farmer approximately half the amount of money he spends annually on chemical fertilizers. In Virginia, the poultry industry contributes over $500,000 million per year to the state's economy.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Excessive use of poultry litter on agricultural land is known to cause eutrophication of productive waters. A study was conducted at Virginia State University Randolph Farm, Petersburg, VA to test the agricultural benefits of added lime, alum, ferrous sulfate, and fluidized bed ash to poultry litter through soil aggregation and phosphorus immobilization; while providing sufficient nutrients for proper growth of soybean [Glycine max (L.)] and corn [Zea mays (L.)] on a rotation. Soybeans treated with chemical fertilizer (NPK) and poultry litter alone resulted in lower yields than those treated with poultry litter and lime, alum and ferrous sulfate amendments. Amending litter with lime resulted in significantly higher pH, while alum treated soil had lower pH. Results from soybean root, shoot, and nodule growth indicate variability with respect to litter application and the type of amendment used. Chemical fertilizer and litter with lime generally resulted in more but smaller sized nodules whereas litter with alum resulted in fewer and larger nodules. Soil aggregation was significantly lower in fertilizer treated soils compared to those treated with poultry litter as indicated by water stable aggregation (WSA), mean weight diameter (MWD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD) (P>0.05). Poultry litter with amendments tended to have increased aggregation compared to litter alone. Chemical fertilizer treatments also showed lower carbon (C) in aggregates than litter treatments. Alum and iron treatments with litter tended to have increased C stored in macro-aggregates (8 to 5 mm diameter). These results suggest that treatment with poultry litter and lime, alum and ferrous sulfate contribute to improved crop yield and plant development can improve soil aggregation

Impacts
Poultry litter when used as recommended by a nutrient management specialist will benefit agricultural crops with low impact on the environment. Often use of phosphorus adsorbing chemicals, such as alum, lime, and iron sulfate are recommended for agricultural soils when poultry litter is used as supplemental fertilizer. These agriculturally friendly chemicals will precipitate out excess phosphorus in poultry litter thereby preventing it from being removed from agricultural land in runoff. Such science-based results may be used as best management practices to prevent eutrophication of receiving streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
Poultry manure when used as soil conditioner brings both positive and negative attributes to the environment. The positive aspect comes from its ability to provide essential nutrients for crop production, and the negative aspect is related to its impact on water quality. This study examined the organic phosphate composition of poultry manure using a sequential extraction procedure. To evaluate the effectiveness of organic phosphorus extraction solutions, 0.5 g poultry litter was equilibrated either with deionized water, 0.5M NaHCO3, 0.1 M NaOH, or 1M HCl. A 30-milliliter aliquot of the respective solution was added to the litter and shaken for 30 minutes over a rotary shaker. At each step of extraction, the supernatant was analyzed for total phosphorus and selected metals. The pellet was re-suspended with the successive solution and the extraction continued as described above. The final residue was also assayed for total phosphorus. Four organic components (humic acid, fulvic acid, Phospholipids, and inositol phosphate) were identified and their phosphorus contents measured. Results indicate that almost all (approx. 90%) of the phosphorus in poultry manure was present in the soluble ortho-phosphate form, with minor amounts (5-10 percent) being present in the organic forms. The trend in the organic phosphorus content from highest to lowest was: humic acid fulvic acid, inositol-P and phsopholipids, respectively.

Impacts
Poultry manure contains both organic and inorganic constituents that serve as sources of phosphorus. The release of phosphorus from organic constituents is equally significant to water pollution. Understanding the types of organic phosphorus in poultry manure will help in evaluating the stability of phosphorus in soil organic matter, and its subsequent management to reduce stream pollution.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period