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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 6, p. 2146-2153
    Received: July 8, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): mitchc1@auburn.edu
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Nutrient Accumulation and Movement from Poultry Litter

  1. Charles C. Mitchell *a and
  2. Shuxin Tub
  1. a Auburn Univ., Auburn University, AL 36849-5412
    b College of Resources and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China


Poultry broiler litter (BL) is widely used as an alternative source of N, P, and K for crops and forages and is often applied at excessive rates of both N and P. Soil samples were periodically collected from experiments with BL at two locations in Alabama, a Coastal Plain site and a Tennessee Valley site, from 1991 though 2000. The objective was to determine the accumulation and movement of plant nutrients and metals in soil profiles when BL is compared with ammonium nitrate (AN) as a source of N for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.). The Tennessee Valley site was fertilized and cropped for 3 yr, and the Coastal Plain site was fertilized and cropped for 12 yr. The two N sources were applied at rates from 0 to 269 kg N ha−1 based on total N in the material. Incremental soil samples to a depth of 1 m were taken periodically from 1990 through 2000. Broiler litter maintained surface soil pH on the coarse-textured soil at the Coastal Plain site whereas AN resulted in a decline in pH. There were no significant differences in surface soil pH due to source on the finer textured Tennessee Valley site. Application of BL resulted in increasing accumulations of total soil organic C, total N, and Mehlich-1 extractable Ca, Mg, P, K, B, Zn, and Cu as the rates increased from 134 to 269 kg N ha−1 as BL (approximately 4.48–8.96 Mg ha−1 yr−1) over a 10-yr period. While differences in NH4–N and NO3–N were observed to a 1-m depth due to treatment, soil concentrations were very low compared with standards used in the presidedress soil nitrate test for corn (PSNT). No significant accumulations of heavy metals were observed during the experiments.

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