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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Effects of Poultry Litter Application Rate and Rainfall Intensity on Quality of Runoff from Fescuegrass Plots


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 22 No. 2, p. 361-365
    Received: May 1, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D.R. Edwards * and
  2. T.C. Daniel
  1. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dep., Univ. of Arkansas, 203 Engineering Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701;
    Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.



A 4 × 2 factorial experiment with three replications was conducted to determine how quality of runoff from grassed areas treated with poultry (Gallus gallus domesticus) litter is impacted by litter application rate and rainfall intensity for storms occurring 1 d after application. Poultry litter was applied at 0, 218, 435, and 870 kg N ha−1 to plots established with fescuegrass (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) on a Captina silt loam soil (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Typic Fragiudult). Simulated rainfall was applied 24 h after litter application at 5 and 10 cm h−1 until runoff had occurred for a duration of 0.5 h. Flow-weighed composite samples were collected and analyzed for total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), total phosphorus (TP), dissolved reactive phosphorus (DP), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids, and electrical conductivity. Increasing the litter application rate significantly increased runoff concentrations of all litter constituents investigated. Concentrations of TKN, TP, DP, and COD significantly decreased with increasing rainfall intensity because of more runoff and the associated dilution. Masses of litter constituents transported off the plots via runoff significantly increased with both litter application rate and rainfall intensity. For a given rainfall intensity, the proportions of applied litter constituents lost in runoff were generally indendent of application rate with the exception of total N at the high rainfall intensity.

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