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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 6, p. 2051-2057
     
    Received: Oct 1, 2001


    * Corresponding author(s): ttworkos@afrs.ars.usda.gov
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doi:10.2134/jeq2002.2051

Nitrogen and Phosphorus Availability in Composted and Uncomposted Poultry Litter

  1. P. L. Preuscha,
  2. P. R. Adlerb,
  3. L. J. Sikorac and
  4. T. J. Tworkoski *d
  1. a Hood College and University of Maryland, 8020 Greenmead Drive, College Park, MD 20740-4000
    b U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture, Kearneysville, WV 25430
    c U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Manure and By-Products Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350
    d U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Appalachian Fruit Research Station, 45 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430

Abstract

Poultry litter applications to land have been based on crop N requirements, resulting in application of P in excess of plant requirements, which may cause degradation of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The effect of litter source (the Delmarva Peninsula and Moorefield, West Virginia) and composting of poultry litter on N mineralization and availability of P in two soil types (sandy loam and silt loam) was determined in a controlled environment for 120 d. Nitrogen mineralization (percent total organic N converted to inorganic nitrogen) rates were higher for fresh litter (range of 42 to 64%) than composted litter (range of 1 to 9%). The N mineralization rate of fresh litter from the Delmarva Peninsula was consistently lower than the fresh litter from Moorefield, WV. The N mineralization rate of composted litter from either source was not significantly different for each soil type (7 to 9% in sandy loam and 1 to 5% in silt loam) even though composting conditions were completely different at the two composting facilities. Litter source had a large effect on N mineralization rates of fresh but not composted poultry litter. Composting yielded a more predictable and reliable source of mineralizable N than fresh litter. Water-extractable phosphorus (WEP) was similar in soils amended with composted litter from WV and fresh litter from both sources (approximately 10 to 25 and 2 to 14 mg P kg−1 for sandy loam and silt loam, respectively). Mehlich 1–extractable phosphorus (MEP) was similar in soils amended with WV fresh litter and composted litter from both sources (approximately 100 to 140 and 60 to 90 mg P kg−1 for sandy loam and silt loam, respectively). These results suggest that the composting process did not consistently reduce WEP and MEP, and P can be as available in composted poultry litter as in fresh poultry litter.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:2051–2057.