Poultry Litter as Fertilizer Source

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Presentation to Crop Producers on utilizing poultry litter as a fertilizer source.

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Poultry Litter as Fertilizer Source

  1. 1. K-State Research and ExtensionKansas State University Poultry Litter Management Keith Martin Agriculture Agent Wildcat Extension District
  2. 2. What is Poultry Litter?• Manure and bedding material – sawdust, wood shavings, rice hulls, etc.• Returns soil nutrients and organic matter• Builds soil fertility and quality• Slowly releases nutrients• Liming effect
  3. 3. Why the increased interest?• OK and AR heavy poultry production• Greater restrictions on application of poultry litter in Arkansas & OK.• Available cropland and pastureland in Kansas
  4. 4. Averages have very little to do with the litter applied on your farm• Sources of variability – Type of bird – Number of flocks – Type of bedding – Type of cleanout – Fresh litter – Stored litter
  5. 5. Sampling• You should always have litter sampled– How much value are you really getting?– Moisture content can vary greatly Keith Martin
  6. 6. Interpreting Lab Results• The nutrient results need to be converted from percent to pounds per wet ton basis, and phosphorus and potassium need to be converted to P205 and K20 fertilizer basis.• Nitrogen 3.2% X 20 64 lb/ton• P205 1.5% X 20 X2.27 68 lb/ton• K2O 2.1% X 20 X1.2 50 lb/ton
  7. 7. 48 Samples “As Is”• Nitrogen – 68% 36 – 68 – 95% 20 – 84• Phosphorous – 68% 37 - 79 – 95% 17 - 99• Potassium – 68% 28 – 58 – 95% 13 - 73• Value – $39 – $71 – $23 - $88
  8. 8. Other Nutrients• Availability similar to commercial fertilizer• P & K in inorganic and organic form – Litter is very high in P and K (Relative to manures) – ~ 90% available for long-term plant uptake• Additional plant nutrients in poultry litter – S, Zn, Fe, Cu, Ca, Mg
  9. 9. Value of Additional Nutrients• Additional plant nutrients in poultry litter – Sulfur and Zinc are potentially deficient and of some value to forages – Many of the other micronutrients are plentiful in the soil and of less value (Fe, Cu, Ca, Mg) Average High LowNutrient Lb/ton $ Lb/ton $ Lb/ton $Sulfur 13.6 $3.43 24.8 $6.25 5.6 $1.41Zinc 0.9 $0.50 2.0 $1.12 0.4 $0.24 S: $0.25/lb Zn: $0.56/lb Bob Woods, OSU
  10. 10. Importance of Moisture Content1. Affects the hauling cost.2. Moisture above about 35% is quite wet and may require special equipment. Unstable manure can heat up or produce flammable gases.3. Litter much dryer than 20% moisture may be dusty and abrasive to equipment. (Zhang, Smolen, and Hamilton PT 2002-24)
  11. 11. What about Nitrogen?• About 80% is in organic material and must be mineralized before it is available to crop – Usually 25% - 50% is mineralized 1st yearPoultry litter N availability (Assume 55lb N/ton)Year after Surface Lbs N/tonapplication application availability1st Year 50% 22 lbs2nd Year 12% 5 lbs3rd Year 6% 3 lbs
  12. 12. What about Nitrogen?• About 20% or (11 lbs/ton) of the nitrogen is inorganic NH4 – Readily available to plant, but some is subject to losses Manure Ammonia Volatilization
  13. 13. Other Litter Quality Criteria1. Consistency of the manure affects the type of equipment needed to handle, process, or apply it to the land.2. Bedding type: rice hulls are preferred to either wheat straw or wood shavings.3. Treatments such as alum may lower the phosphorus availability to plants, reducing its value. Therefore, it may not be suitable for P deficient fields.4. Other foreign objects can damage equipment. (Zhang, Smolen, and Hamilton PT 2002-24)
  14. 14. BMP’s for Poultry Litter• KS is currently not regulated for litter storage and application and following BMP’s can help keep it that way• We will need to be conscientious on our handling and spreading of litter – Odor – Surface runoff of nutrients into our water supply
  15. 15. Phosphorus Runoff• Base application rates on P not N – Many crops will need supplemental nitrogen Average Phosphorus concentrations in surface runoff after turkey litter or fertilizer applications on cropland Ortho-P Bioavailable-P Total-P Control 0.05 0.05 0.17 Lbs/a Fertilizer 5.10 4.27 5.63 Litter-N based 12.54 10.19 13.51 Litter-P based 2.09 1.72 2.42 Litter-P based, CT 0.68 0.62 1.22 LSD (0.20) 6.80 5.62 7.66 Sweeney and Pierzynski
  16. 16. Litter Applications• Because of high Phosphorus loads in poultry litter, make applications based on P needs not Nitrogen• Separation of 35 ft from surface water on grasslands – Cropland 100 ft separation unless grass buffer• Do not apply to land with steep slopes• Although no separation regulation on application distances from residence – Away form residence (1/4 - 1/2 mile separation) – Wind direction• Avoid applying litter to those fields that frequently flood
  17. 17. Litter Stockpiling• Stockpile litter at least 200 feet away from “Waters of the State”
  18. 18. Waters of the State = any watercourse,channel, stream, river, lake, or roadditch 200 feet LITTER WASTE STREAM
  19. 19. Litter Stockpiling• Stockpile litter at least 200 feet away from “Waters of the State” – Alan Sharp, KDHE: 620-431-2390• Avoid stockpiling litter near homes• Use tarps on litter piles to keep litter dry, reduce smell, and reduce N losses from volatilization• Regardless, expect N loss over time – compost ~50% loss – stockpile ~10 – 20%
  20. 20. Stockpiling Considerations• Slope of site• Slope from site to water• Distance to water• Time stored• Amount stored• Buffer size and ground cover
  21. 21. Should you use poultry litter?• It depends – Cost of Litter – Litter Analysis – Do you soil test and fertilize accordingly – Will you utilize Increased Nutrient Levels – Hassle factor – Environmental Concerns – Neighbors – Can you get it applied accurately
  22. 22. Questions? Contact Keith Martin (620) 784-5337 (620) 252-5247 rkmartin@ksu.edu

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