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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2012, Article ID 204629, 8 pages
Research Article

Impact of Poultry Litter Cake, Cleanout, and Bedding following Chemical Amendments on Soil C and N Mineralization

1National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 411 S. Donahue Drive, Auburn, AL 36832, USA
2Depatement of Math, Science, and Technology, University of Minnesota-Crookston, 2900 University Avenue, Crookston, MN 56716, USA

Received 7 January 2012; Accepted 2 April 2012

Academic Editor: Mark Reiter

Copyright © 2012 Dexter B. Watts et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Poultry litter is a great alternative N source for crop production. However, recent poultry litter management changes, and increased chemical amendment use may impact its N availability. Thus, research was initiated to evaluate the effect that broiler cake and total cleanout litter amended with chemical additives have on C and N mineralization. A 35-day incubation study was carried out on a Hartsells fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, subactive, thermic Typic Hapludults) soil common to the USA Appalachian Plateau region. Three poultry litter components (broiler cake, total cleanout, and bedding material) from a broiler house were evaluated and compared to a soil control. Chemical amendments lime (CaCO3), gypsum (CaSO4), aluminum sulfate (AlSO4), and ferrous sulfate (FeSO4) were added to the poultry litter components to determine their impact on C and N mineralization. Litter component additions increased soil C mineralization in the order of broiler cake > total cleanout > bedding > soil control. Although a greater concentration of organic C was observed in the bedding, broiler cake mineralized the most C, which can be attributed to differences in the C : N ratio between treatments. Chemical amendment in addition to the manured soil also impacted C mineralization, with AlSO4 generally decreasing mineralization. Nitrogen mineralization was also significantly affected by poultry litter component applications. Broiler cake addition increased N availability followed by total cleanout compared to soil control, while the bedding resulted in net N immobilization. Chemical amendments impacted N mineralization primarily in the broiler cake amended soil where all chemical amendments decreased mineralization compared to the no chemical amendment treatment. This short-term study (35-day incubation) indicates that N availability to crops may be different depending on the poultry litter component used for fertilization and chemical amendment use which could decrease N mineralization.