Comparison of Soil-Applied Poultry Litter vs. Ammonium Nitrate for Cotton in North Texas.
Daniel Hathcoat, Soil & Crop Sciences, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Olsen Blvd, College Station, TX 77843, James Heitholt, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, 17360 Coit Rd., Dallas, TX 75252-6599, Jim Swart, Texas Cooperative Extension, Commerce, TX 75429, and John Sloan, Texas A&M University - Soil & Crop Sciences, TAMU - Dallas, 17360 Coit Rd., Dallas, TX 75252-6502.
Poultry litter (PL) can be an inexpensive source of nutrients that is readily available to local producers in North Texas. Although PL is a waste product of the poultry industry, previous research has shown that it can provide some of the same benefits to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) as commercial fertilizers. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of PL and ammonium nitrate (AN) on cotton (DeltaPine 444 BG/RR) when applied at rates of 0, 2, and 4 ton litter ac-1 (0, 4480, 8960 kg litter per ha) and 0, 40, 80 lbs N ac-1 (0, 44.8, 89.6 kg N per ha), respectively, on a Leson Clay soil. It was hypothesized that the addition of PL, at one of the rates, would increase the yield significantly over the no litter treatment. In addition, combining AN with PL would help to reduce the overall amount of PL used and alleviate some of the concern of soil phosphorus overload. The results showed that high litter rate increased the yield significantly (P<0.05) over the 0 litter application, due to an increase in the number of bolls m-2. Neither the AN nor the interaction of PL and AN had an impact on yield (P>0.05). Plant traits such as height, leaf area, blade weight and nutrient concentration (plant tissue and soil) showed were significantly affected by the PL x AN interaction. Due to the lack of rainfall during the growing season of 2006, some of the results did not show the significant influences as expected. Nevertheless, PL appears to be an effective source of nutrients for replacement of commercial fertilizers on cotton yield in the North Texas region.