Saturday, 15 July 2006

Optimum Broiler Litter Application Date on Bermudagrass in Southeastern U.S.

K. R. Sistani1, A. Adeli1, Haile Tewolde1, and Geoff Brink2. (1) USDA-ARS, 230 Bennett LN, Bowling Green, KY 42104, (2) USDA-Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Dairy Forage Res Ctr, 1925 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Poultry growers in general produce 5 to 6 flocks of birds yearly resulting in 5 to 6 litter/cake collection and application events following each sell out. Presently, most of the boiler litter is applied to pasture land year-round. This practice results in nutrient losses and potentially unfavorable environmental impact particularly during the wet winter months. A three-year field plot experiment was conducted in 2000 to 2002 on Ruston silt loam in Mize Mississippi with the following objectives, a) to determine the optimum date/dates for broiler litter application on bermudagrass dry matter production, and b) to determine the litter application date/dates impact on nutrient uptake and build up in soil. Seven treatments (litter application dates) were employed on previously established common bermudagrass plots. For each treatment, total litter needed was calculated based on 400 kg N/ha for top bermudagrass yield production, and applied either as single, two-way split, or three-way split rate at different dates as follow: May; May June; April May June; May June July; June July August; July August September; and August September October. Background soil samples were collected prior to the start of the experiment and on a yearly basis after that. Bermudagrass was harvested 4 to 6 times each year for dry matter and nutrient uptake determination. Based on dry matter production and the build up of the nutrients in soil, the optimum litter application date was determined.

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