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FGD gypsum reduces runoff from broiler litter application


Proper manure management practice is required to enhance production while minimize manure derived nutrient losses to the environment. Producers in the region with intense broiler production take advantage of the plant nutrients contained in broiler litter to enhance forage or pasture productions in nearby areas. The inability to incorporate broiler litter (BL) into permanent hayfields and pastures leads to nutrient accumulation near the soil surface and increases the potential transport of nutrients, mainly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), in runoff. While strong emphasis has been placed on how treating broiler litter with nutrient immobilizing agents affect P transport in surface runoff, the effects on N transport and microbial levels are largely unknown.  

In a recent article in the Journal of Environmental Quality researchers conducted a field study using rainfall simulation and evaluated the effects of lignite, brown/unprocessed coal, and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum on nutrient concentrations and microbial levels in runoff from a hayfield that received broiler litter. They found that mixing broiler litter with 20% FGD gypsum and lignite by mass reduced water soluble phosphorus by 39% and ammonium-N by 70%, respectively.

This indicates that treated broiler litter with FGD and lignite can be considered as cost-effective management practices in the mitigation of phosphorus and nitrogen in surface runoff. Since lignite potentially reduces ammonia emission, it may be a viable option to increase the sustainability of broiler litter application.   


Read the full article in JEQ. Free preview April 3 - April 10