Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Second Floor
Land application of poultry (Gallus gallus) litter to forage crops is one of the most obvious methods of recycling nutrients; however, manure management remains one of the greatest challenges for livestock producers, particularly where animals are produced on relatively small land areas. Tall fescue is depended on heavily for livestock production in many regions of the Southeastern USA. Field studies were conducted in Kentucky (2002-04) and Mississippi (2005-07) to determined forage quality of tall fescue (Festuca arundinaceae Schreb.) fertilized with commercial fertilizer (CF, 224 kg ha-1 N yr-1) and broiler litter rates of 0, 4.48, 8.96, 13.4, and 17.9 Mg ha-1 yr-1. The six treatments were applied either in April (Kentucky) or split-applied in April and October (Mississippi) to small plots randomized in a complete block design. In general, CF produced the highest quality forage, based on high crude protein (CP) and low acid detergent fiber (ADF), at early-season harvest. In the late-season harvest in 2007, a yield response to litter rate was associated with increased CP and decreased ADF. However, rates exceeding 8.96 Mg ha-1 yr-1 led to soil build-up of P, Cu, and Zn, as compared to CF. The commonly used single-application rate of 4.5 Mg ha-1 litter sometimes resulted in forage quality comparable to 8.96 Mg litter. Results suggest high rates of litter benefited late-season hay yield and forage quality, but did not improve the overall forage quality and may have unintended environmental consequences.