See more from this Session: S04-S08 Graduate Student Competition
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
The overall goal of this study is to assess the adverse impacts of phytotoxic trace elements from long-term chicken litter application to corn and fescue productivity. Confined animal feeding operations could have a potentially huge economic and environmental impact on local communities. The focus of this study will be the phytotoxic effects of these metals (copper, zinc). This project will address the inherent complexities of balancing management of sustainable rural economic growth and conservation of important natural resources such as fertile bottomland farming soils. I will test two hypotheses: H1: crop plants (corn and fescue) exposed to supplemented levels (representative of 40-80 years into the future) of metals will exhibit phytotoxic effects, H2: with continued application of trace metals from chicken litter to farm soils, productivity will be unsustainable in the near future. I have determined the current concentrations and ratios of trace metals in the soils of fields amended long-term (20-30 years) with chicken litter. Additionally, a two year in-field leaf tissue burden study is currently in progress. Based on the field data, a greenhouse study will be conducted in 2010 to determine the effects of increasing concentrations of these elements. Both acute and chronic assessment techniques will be utilized (endpoints: percent seedling germination, percent seedling emergence, root/shoot length, bioaccumulation of metals, biomass and leaf condition). If my hypotheses are supported, this research will determine the adverse effects of longterm spreading of chicken litter on agricultural communities. This information will be utilized in education of landowners to create a more sustainable culture of farming productivity and care for the environment.