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Total Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese Concentrations in Cecil Soil Through 10 Years of Poultry Litter Application
- He, Zhongqi, Endale, Dinku M., Schomberg, Harry H., Jenkins, Michael B.
- Soil science 2009 v.174 no.12 pp. 687
- poultry manure, soil amendments, long term experiments, agricultural soils, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, soil fertility, soil chemistry, soil nutrients, no-tillage, conservation tillage, Georgia
- Poultry litter (PL) is an inexpensive and effective source of plant nutrients. However, overapplication could result in phosphorus (P) and heavy metal accumulation in soils. A field experiment evaluating PL application to a Cecil soil used for cotton and corn production has been maintained for 10 years. At the end of the cotton phase (i.e., the first 5 years), PL annually applied at 4.5 Mg ha did not increase concentrations of total soil P, zinc (Zn), Cu, or manganese. During the corn phase (i.e. the second 5 years), PL application rates were increased from two to four times that used for cotton partly because of corn's greater N demand. With this change, the average total P in the surface 15-cm soil nearly doubled to about 560 mg kg of dry soil in both conventional till and no-till fields at the end of the corn phase. During the same time, Cu increased from 7 to 22 mg kg and Zn increased from 17 to 32 mg kg of dry soil. Levels of manganese were basically unchanged. Total P and Cu also increased in the 15- to 30-cm depth, with concentrations in the 0 to 15 cm being 1.8 to two times that in the 15 to 30 cm for P and approximately two times for Cu. Relationships between extractable versus total P and Zn changed at a threshold point beyond which extractable P and Zn increased at more than double the initial rate. It seems that once accumulation of P and Zn exceeded the soil buffer capacity, nutrient availability was significantly altered. Therefore, close monitoring of soil nutrients especially P is essential to avoid over application of PL that may potentially pose environmental risks for water pollution.