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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 566-574
    Received: Apr 4, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): ardeshir.adeli@ars.usda.gov
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Effect of Surface Incorporation of Broiler Litter Applied to No-Till Cotton on Runoff Quality

  1. A. Adeli *a,
  2. M.W. Shanklec,
  3. H. Tewoldea,
  4. J.P. Brooksa,
  5. K.R. Sistanib,
  6. M.R. McLaughlina and
  7. D.E. Rowec
  1. a USDA–ARS, Genetics and Precision Ag Research, Mississippi State, MS 39762
    c Mississippi State Univ., Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State, MS 39762. Associate Editor Douglas Smith. Approved for publication as journal article number J-11278 of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State University. Mention of a trade name, proprietary product, or specific equipment does not constitute a guarantee or warranty by USDA and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may be suitable
    b USDA–ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit, Bowling Green, KY 42104


Surface application of broiler litter to no-till cotton could lead to degradation of water quality. Incorporation of broiler litter into the top surface soil (0.05 m) could alleviate this risk. A 2-yr field study was conducted on a silt loam upland soil to determine the effect of incorporation of broiler litter into the soil surface on nutrient and bacterial transport in runoff. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four treatments and three replications. Treatments were (i) unfertilized control; (ii) surface-applied broiler litter at 7.8 Mg ha−1 without incorporation; (iii) surface-applied broiler litter at 7.8 Mg ha−1 with immediate incorporation; and (iv) inorganic fertilizer N (urea ammonium nitrate, 32% N) and inorganic fertilizer P (triple superphosphate) at the recommended rate. Phosphorus was surface applied at 25 kg ha−1 and N was injected at 101 kg ha−1 into the soil using a commercial liquid fertilizer applicator. Runoff was collected from small runoff plots (2.4 m by 1.6 m) established at the bottom side of main plots (13.7 m by 6.0 m). Incorporation of broiler litter reduced total N (TN), NO3–N, water soluble P (WSP), and total P (TP) concentrations in runoff by 35, 25, 61, and 64%, respectively, and litter-associated bacteria by two to three orders of magnitude compared with unincorporated treatment. No significant difference in total suspended solids (TSS) in runoff was obtained between incorporated and unincorporated treatments. Incorporation of broiler litter into the surface soil in the no-till system immediately after application minimized the potential risk for surface nutrient losses and bacteria transport in runoff.

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