A Review of WV Poultry Litter Analysis from 1994 to 2010 That Demonstrates a Continual Fluctuation in Nutrient Concentrations Resulting from Changes In Poultry Feed Formulations and New Storage Methods

Waste to Worth: Spreading science and solutions logoWaste to Worth home | More proceedings….

Why Study Nutrient Concentrations in Poultry Manure?

The nutrient management planning process requires continual nutrient analysis of generated poultry litter to determine accurate agronomic land application rates.  To better understand the challenges that nutrient management planners have faced with these nutrient concentration changes in poultry litter, an analysis was conducted of sample results submitted to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture Nutrient Management Lab, from 1994 to 2010. The number of produced Broilers in WV for 2010 was 87,600,000; the number of turkeys grown in WV during 2010 was 3,100,000 and the number of Layers averaged 1,200,000.  NASS did not report pullet numbers.  Data was analyzed by bird type including, Broilers, Layers, Pullets and Turkeys.  

Lab analysis included TKN, Ammonia, P2O5, K2O, Cu, Ca, Mg, WEP (Water Extractable Phosphorus) and Moisture content.  Ammonia concentrations increased during the study period for all bird types, broilers and turkeys had ammonia concentrations averaging 15 lbs per ton in 1995 and had doubled to 30 lbs per ton of litter in 2010. This increase of ammonia may be attributed to the adoption by poultry growers of long term in-house litter storage.   P2O5 concentrations in broiler litter have consistently declined over the study period likely due to addition of phytase enzyme to feed allowing the reduction of P in the broiler diets.  Average P2O5   levels in 1995 were 60 lbs per ton and had dropped to 40 lbs per ton of litter by 2012.  This data can also provide estimates of watershed nutrient loading used in the Chesapeake Bay, TMDL process and improve the Bay watershed model.


Tom Basden, West Virginia University    tom.basden@mail.wvu.edu      

Ed Rayburn and Joe Moritz, West Virginia University, Morgantown WV


The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.