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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Nutrient Management & Soil & Plant Analysis

Impact of Alum-Treated Poultry Litter Applications on Fescue Production and Soil Phosphorus Fractions


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 6, p. 1957-1966
    Received: Jan 5, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): jwarren@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Jason G. Warren *a,
  2. Steven B. Phillipsa,
  3. Gregory L. Mullinsb and
  4. Lucian W. Zelaznyc
  1. a Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., 33446 Research Dr., Painter, VA 23420
    b Dep. of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State Univ., Room 127N, Skeen Hall, P.O. Box 30003, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003
    c Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 330 Smyth Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061


The purpose of this 4-yr study was to evaluate tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) production and changes in soil P fractions resulting from alum-treated poultry litter (ATPL) applications. Plots were established in the spring of 2000 at Orange, VA, on a Davidson loam (fine, kaolinitic, thermic Rhodic Kandiudult). Treatments included the application of ATPL, non-treated poultry litter (NPL) and triple superphosphate (TSP) at rates based on current litter management strategies in Virginia. During the 4 yr of this study, applications of ATPL resulted in forage yield and P uptake similar to that found in treatments receiving NPL. Also, no significant differences in Mehlich-1 extractable soil P between litter treatments were observed after 4 yr of application. A soil P fractionation procedure revealed significantly decreased H2O extractable inorganic P (Pi) concentrations in soils receiving N-based rates of ATPL compared with equivalent applications of NPL. Conversely, the organic P (Po) fraction extracted with 0.1 M NaOH was significantly elevated in treatments that had received ATPL compared with those receiving NPL or TSP regardless of P application rate. The results indicate that applications of ATPL does not adversely affect P uptake by fescue or forage production. This study also shows that ATPL can have an impact on the forms of P found in soils following continued applications; however, these differences may not always be detected through routine soil analyses such as the Mehlich-1 extraction.

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