U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Composting and Gypsum Amendment of Broiler Litter to Reduce Nutrient Leaching Loss

Ardeshir Adeli, J. Sheng, J. N. Jenkins, G. Feng
Journal of environmental quality 2015 v.44 no.2 pp. 676-683
Cynodon dactylon, biomass, composting, copper, grasses, gypsum, hay, leaching, litter weight, nitrate nitrogen, nutrients, phosphorus, plant growth, potassium, poultry manure, soil, soil amendments, soil organic carbon, zinc
The effect of composted litter relative to fresh litter on leaching losses of nutrients has not been well documented. Fresh and composted broiler litter was surface-applied to bermudagrass (hay) [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] established in undisturbed soil columns based on N need of the grass in the presence or absence of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum to evaluate an approach to reduce broiler litter nutrient leaching potential. Columns were periodically leached and biomass was harvested during the 60-d experiment. Total N applied to bermudagrass from broiler litter was 320 kg ha⁻¹. Gypsum was mixed with fresh and composted litter at the rate based on 20% of litter weight. For composted broiler litter, NO₃–N, P, K, Cu, and Zn contents in the leachate obtained from the first leaching event were 58, 50, 40, 32, and 38% less than fresh broiler litter, respectively. Significant decreases in NO₃–N (13%), P (53%), Cu (17%), and Zn (28%) in leachate were obtained when gypsum was mixed with fresh broiler litter. Fresh broiler litter and composted broiler litter applications increased bermudagrass growth compared with the control and gypsum significantly increased yields when mixed with broiler litter. Composted broiler litter application significantly increased N and organic C in the soil compared with fresh litter. Results demonstrate that coapplication of composted broiler litter with FGD gypsum provide the most effective management option for minimizing leaching losses of nutrients while sustaining crop productivity.