Monday, November 13, 2006

Soil Nutrient Accumulation in an Orchardgrass Hayfield following Poultry Litter Application.

R.A. Gilfillen, B.B. Sleugh, W.T. Willian, and M.L. Futrell. Western Kentucky Univ, 1906 College Heights Blvd #41066, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1066

Poultry litter can be an excellent source of nutrients for forage production. If properly managed, litter can be returned to land; however, one concern regarding land application of poultry litter is soil nutrient accumulation. Applying poultry litter to land at recommended crop N rates can lead to an accumulation of P, K, and some micronutrients in the soil. This study was developed to observe accumulation in nutrient content of the soils after four years of fertilization with poultry litter and/or inorganic fertilizers. A completely randomized block design consisting of four treatments was utilized: an inorganic N, P, K fertilizer (I), poultry litter applied according to recommended P rate (PPL), poultry litter applied according to recommended N rate (NPL), and poultry litter applied at recommended P rate with supplemental inorganic N fertilizer (NPPL). Soil samples from the last year of the study were analyzed for pH, CEC, organic matter and available nutrient content. Differences between treatments were found for CEC along with available P, S, Cu, Zn, and Na. In each of these measurements, the NPL treatment was significantly higher than all others (p<=0.01). Indications are that while the increased CEC would be useful, the increase in availability of P, Cu, Zn and Na can lead to more serious environmental concerns.

Handout (.ppt format, 227.0 kb)