A mixture of poultry manure and sawdust or other bedding materials, poultry litter contains all the essential nutrients required for crop production. Its value as an organic fertilizer and a source of plant nutrients has been recognized for centuries. Given its beneficial effects on plant growth, litter is much more valuable as a fertilizer than previously thought. Several studies are showing its newfound advantages over conventional synthetic chemical fertilizers prompting farmers to switch to poultry litter and away from chemical fertilizers.
Many other farmers are interested in the possible economic benefits of using poultry litter because, previous studies only considered the economic value of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in poultry litter. This can be compared to that in synthetic chemical fertilizers.
Farmers know that poultry litter, an Organic Nutrient Fertilizer (ONF), is a better soil conditioner than synthetic fertilizers, but have never had a way to assign a number to the value of that benefit. So within this study, they calculated this by balancing the price tag of the nutrients in the litter with its resulting higher yields, a reflection of its soil conditioning benefits.
They found that cotton yields peaked 12 percent higher with organic fertilizers, compared to peak yields with synthetic fertilizers. With all benefits factored in, they found that poultry litter has a value of about $78 a ton, compared to $61 a ton when figured by the traditional synthetic chemical method.
The nutrient composition of poultry manure varies with the species of bird, feed rotation, amount of litter to droppings, manure handling system, and type of litter. Poultry manure is an excellent source of nutrients, however, those using manures must practice sound soil fertility management to prevent nutrient imbalances.
The Poultry Litter Fine Line:
- Don’t despair; manure can be one of the greatest assets for a home gardener. Although poultry manure is too strong to be used raw on your flowers or vegetables, it can be fermented and converted into plant food heaven using our “Liqui-Dirt” process.
- If used without fermenting it could damage roots and possibly kill your plants. However, once it is fermented poultry litter is a good soil amendment, that adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial bacteria in the soil.
- A good fertilizer; poultry litter provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to you plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure).
The “Liqui-Dirt” formula produces a mixture that is absorbed into the plants roots with no other enzymatic digestion required to metabolize throughout the plant.