Pastured poultry and vegetable production: An integrated approach

1999 Annual Report for LS99-103

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1999: $89,800.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Southern
State: Louisiana
Principal Investigator:
James McNitt
Southern University and A&M College

Pastured poultry and vegetable production: An integrated approach

Summary

Objectives
1.) Determine the effect of the manure on plant performance at various times after the pastured poultry have been on the area;
2.) To determine the response of soil fertility and crop yields to manure from previously pastured poultry at the Southern University Horticulture Farm and on producers farms;
3.) To carry out economic analyses of the system; and
4.) To develop information for producers regarding economic advantages and cultural practices relative to growing vegetables in association with pastured poultry, to recruit new pastured poultry and vegetable producers, and to involve producer organizations in promotion of the program.

Approach
A Fall and a Spring experiment for Objective 1 have been completed with the second Fall experiment currently in the ground. The first trial was carried out in the Fall of 1999 using mustards planted 1, 7, 14 or 21 days after the birds had been on the area. The area was tilled to incorporate the manure the day after the birds were moved from each plot. These preliminary data suggested that the best response was obtained if the crop was planted two weeks after the birds were moved. These results were reported at the 12th Biennial Association of Research Directors Symposium. The Spring trial was carried out in May 2000 using cucumbers. These data are currently being analyzed. The Fall 2000 crop is again mustards and will be harvested in early December.

In Spring 2000, squash was used on the Southern University Horticulture Farm to assess the effects of different fertilizer treatments on crop growth (Objective 2 – chicken manure (CM) only, CM supplemented by conventional fertilizers, CM supplemented by organic fertilizers, and control plots with conventional fertilizers only.) These data are currently being analyzed. In the Fall of 2000 a similar trial has been laid out using mustards and will be harvested in early December.

To estimate the amount of nitrogen added to the soil by the birds, we carried out three trials to determine the fecal dry matter production and the nitrogen content of the manure of White Leghorn layers from the same hatch as the birds on pasture. The bird’s body weight averaged 1,452 g. They produced 26 g of feces per day with 6.21% nitrogen on a dry matter basis. Thus, there was 1.6 g of N produced per bird per day in the pure manure.

In Spring 2001, we will carry out the final experiment for Objective 1 at our Horticulture Research Farm using cucumbers or other summer crop. Trials for objective 2 will be replicated in both the Spring and Fall 2001.

Because of the severe drought, we have only carried out one broiler trial and no vegetable studies on cooperators farms. We are actively recruiting farmers and plan to have at least eight involved in the project in Spring 2001. If the drought continues, provision will be made to provide drip irrigation for the cooperating farmers.

A record book has been developed for the use of researchers and farmer cooperators. Some data have been collected regarding time and financial inputs for the trials on the Southern University Horticulture Farm but more are needed before economic analyses can be undertaken. Once a substantial body of information has been collected, we can develop information for producers regarding economic advantages and cultural practices relative to growing vegetables in association with pastured poultry. The use of vegetables in combination with pastured poultry will increase farm diversity, soil fertility and farm incomes for the farmers.

Collaborators:

Jeffery Gillespie

jmgille@lsu.edu
Associate Professor
Louisiana State University
Dept. of Agricultural Economics
101 Agriculture Administration Building
Baton Rouge, , LA 70803
Office Phone: 2253882759
Osborne Christon

Cooperator
1196 Snow Road
Palmetto, LA 71358
Office Phone: 3186234993
Arlen Guillory

aguillory@sus.edu
Ass’t Livestock Show Manager
Southern University
Box 10010 SUBR
Baton Rouge, LA 70-81
Office Phone: 2257712232
Maria Davidson

Cooperator
12798 Muse Ln.
Clinton, LA 70722
Rodney Mathews

Cooperator
P.O. Box 914
Ferriday, LA 71334
Office Phone: 3187578973
Yemane Ghebreiyessus

yghebrei@subr.edu
Associate Professor
Southern University
Box 11170 SUBR
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
Office Phone: 2257713111
Owusu Bandele

obandele@subr.edu
Professor
Southern Unviersity
Box 11170 SUBR
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
Office Phone: 2257712262
Haney Green

Cooperator
1524 Dupre Road
Opelousas, LA 70570
Office Phone: 3375436626