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Broiler Litter × Industrial By-Products Reduce Nutrients and Microbial Losses in Surface Runoff When Applied to Forages

Ardeshir Adeli, John J. Read, John P. Brooks, Dana Miles, Gary Feng, Johnie N. Jenkins
Journal of environmental quality 2017 v.46 no.2 pp. 339-347
Marietta, ammonium nitrogen, carbon, cost effectiveness, flue gas desulfurization, forage, gypsum, industrial byproducts, lignite, losses from soil, meadows, microbial load, nutrients, pastures, phosphorus, poultry manure, rainfall simulators, runoff, silt loam soils, soil nutrients, storms
The inability to incorporate broiler litter (BL) into permanent hayfields and pastures leads to nutrient accumulation near the soil surface and increases the potential transport of nutrients in runoff. This study was conducted on Marietta silt loam soil to determine the effect of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum and lignite on P, N, C, and microbial concentrations in runoff. Treatments were (i) control (unfertilized) and (ii) BL at 13.4 Mg ha⁻¹ alone or (iii) treated with either FGD gypsum or lignite applied at 20% (w/w) (2.68 Mg ha⁻¹). Rainfall simulators were used to produce a 5.6 cm h⁻¹ storm event sufficient in duration to cause 15 min of continuous runoff. Repeated rains were applied at 3-d intervals to determine how long FGD gypsum and lignite are effective in reducing loss of litter-derived N, P, and C from soil. Application of BL increased N, P, and C concentrations in runoff as compared to the control. Addition of FGD gypsum reduced (P < 0.05) water-soluble P and dissolved organic C concentrations in runoff by 39 and 16%, respectively, as compared to BL alone. Lignite reduced runoff total N and NH₄–N concentrations by 38 and 70%, respectively, as compared to BL alone. Addition of FGD gypsum or lignite failed to significantly reduce microbial loads in runoff, although both treatments reduced microbial concentration by >20%. Thus, BL treated with FGD and lignite can be considered as cost-effective management practices in the mitigation of P, N, and C and possibly microbial concentration in runoff.