The Effect of Crop Land Applied Poultry Litter on Water Quality

Final Report for FS99-092

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1999: $9,556.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
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Project Information


In eastern Oklahoma, and Arkansas there are a large number of poultry operations. The poultry litter produced by these operations is being applied to the land. Because of the large amount of poultry litter being produced and the small area on which to apply it, the land application has resulted in high phosphorus levels in the soil. This has created water quality problems.

There are thousands of acres of crop land to the west of the poultry operations which could utilize the phosphorus in poultry litter. This producer used his producer grant to determine if poultry litter could be transported to other areas and if it would be environmentally and economically feasible.

This producer planted alfalfa to utilize the phosphorus. He then transported the poultry litter to his fields in northern Oklahoma and applied the litter to crop land and took soil samples. P levels increased, but not appreciably. In the years when they got rain, the alfalfa grew well with the poultry litter applications. The producer decided that while biologically successful, he would need a 25 percent increase in yield to make the transporting of poultry litter economically profitable. He also learned that he needed to keep his neighbor’s noses in mind when and where he applied the poultry litter.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Brent Smith
  • Mike Thralls
  • Richard Zetterberg


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.