Are there any drawbacks to using chicken litter?

Published Dec 1, 2020  


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Anonymous Member
Dec 1, 2020  

Categories: Corn, Cotton, Poultry

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By Becky Johnson
Dec 3, 2020  

When working with poultry manure, one thing to keep in mind is that fresh manure can contain harmful bacteria and viruses.

“Pathogens can be a risk when fresh manure is applied to crops (1) that grow in or close to the soil and (2) that are eaten raw. This includes crops such as carrots, lettuce and other greens, and strawberries. With the passage of time, pathogens will naturally die. If we use manure on plants such as carrots, we need to put time on our side. We can put time on our side by:

- Aging or thoroughly composting the manure before we use.

- Waiting at least four months from the time we apply manure until the time we harvest." (“Manure on Your Farm: Asset or Liability?”) 

By Rick Foster
Dec 2, 2020  

Here’s a helpful resource, which points out that the possible drawbacks of applying poultry manure include (A) nutrient imbalances and (B) water contamination so proper management is key.


“Poultry litter (or poultry manure) is an excellent source of nutrients that can be incorporated into many cropping systems in North Carolina. Producers using poultry litter must practice sound soil fertility management to prevent nutrient imbalances as well as surface water and groundwater contamination. The key to successful management is to match the nutrient requirements of the crop with nutrients available in the litter. Determining the economic value of poultry litter varies not only by its nutrient composition and availability, but also with management and handling costs.”



And here’s another poultry-litter resource, which touches on (C) weed considerations. Basically, there may be more weeds after litter applications, but--if the manure was stored properly and covered--then the manure itself doesn’t contain viable weed seeds.


“Increased weed incidence has been reported by researchers, growers and consultants in fields or field areas receiving litter applications. Increased weed populations are most likely due to enhanced weed seed germination from organic acids present in manure and/or increased weed growth from the nutrients applied in manure, rather than the introduction of weed seeds in the litter.”


Are there any drawbacks to using chicken litter?

Here’s a helpful resource, which points out that the possible drawbacks of applying poultry manure include (A) nutrient imbalances and (B) water contamination so proper management is key.


“Poultry litter (or poultry manure) is an excellent source of nutrients that can be incorporated into many cropping systems in North Carolina. Producers using poultry litter must practice sound soil fertility management to prevent nutrient imbalances as well as surface water and groundwater contamination. The key to successful management is to match the nutrient requirements of the crop with nutrients available in the litter. Determining the economic value of poultry litter varies not only by its nutrient composition and availability, but also with management and handling costs.”



And here’s another poultry-litter resource, which touches on (C) weed considerations. Basically, there may be more weeds after litter applications, but--if the manure was stored properly and covered--then the manure itself doesn’t contain viable weed seeds.


“Increased weed incidence has been reported by researchers, growers and consultants in fields or field areas receiving litter applications. Increased weed populations are most likely due to enhanced weed seed germination from organic acids present in manure and/or increased weed growth from the nutrients applied in manure, rather than the introduction of weed seeds in the litter.”


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Categories: Corn, Cotton, Poultry

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