Saturday, 15 July 2006

Poultry Litter Application Creates Nutrient Accumulation in Sorghum-Sudangrass Soils.

Rebecca Gilfillen, Byron Sleugh, and Todd Willian. Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd #41066, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1066

Poultry litter can be used to fertilize sorghum-sudangrass pastures and hayfields. 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 micronutrients in the soil. This study was conducted from 2002-2004 to observe changes in characteristic soil fertility properties after 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). Results indicate that average available P, K, Cu, Zn, and Na were highest in the NPL treatment in comparison to all others (p<=.01). All other treatments showed similar average availability. Some differences were also found between years in pH, available Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe and Mn. Indications are available soil nutrient accumulations will occur when poultry litter is applied to meet the N needs of the sorghum-sudangrass crop.

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