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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Reduction of Phosphorus in Runoff from Field-Applied Poultry Litter Using Chemical Amendments


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 1, p. 106-111
    Received: Feb 28, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s): bshreve@uafsysb.uark.edu
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  1. B. R. Shreve *,
  2. P. A. Moore Jr.,
  3. T. C. Daniel,
  4. D. R. Edwards and
  5. D. M. Miller
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701;
    USDA-ARS, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701;
    Dep. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.



Field applications of poultry litter at rates to meet forage N requirements normally result in an over-application of P. Chemical amendments have the potential to reduce the solubility of manure P through precipitation and/or adsorption reactions. This study was conducted to determine the effects of two chemical amendments, alum (Al2 (SO4)3 · 14H2O) and ferrous sulfate (FeSO4 · 7H2O), on P concentrations and load in runoff and to evaluate the effects of amended litter on forage production. Litter was broadcast applied to fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) plots at 11.2 Mg ha−1 alone and in combination with alum or ferrous sulfate (1:5 amendment/litter). Rainfall simulators were used to produce three runoff events at 2, 9, and 16 d after litter application. Alum reduced the P concentrations in runoff by 87 and 63% of that from litter alone for the first and second runoff events, respectively, whereas ferrous sulfate decreased runoff P concentration by 77 and 48%, respectively. Both chemical amendments resulted in significant reductions (P < 0.05) in total P load for the first runoff event. Litter application significantly increased fescue yields, with total forage yield having the greatest response to alum-amended litter. Mean forage yield with alum amended litter was 2358 kg ha−1, compared with a mean yield of 1847 kg ha−1 with litter alone. This was probably due to decreased NH3 volatilization with the alum treatment. The combination of decreased P loss and increased forage yields suggest that alum-amended litter has substantial promise for use as an environmental and economic management tool in the poultry industry.

Contribution from USDA-ARS.

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