“Dry Litter Systems for Safe Environmentally Friendly Livestock Waste Management and Agricultural Soil Building: An Integrated Small Farm Approach

Project Overview

OW20-352
Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2020: $37,549.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: College of Marshall Islands Cooperative Research and Extension
Region: Western
State: Marshall Islands
Principal Investigator:
Laninbwij Langmos
College of Marshall Islands Cooperative Research and Extension

Commodities

  • Fruits: bananas
  • Animals: poultry, swine

Practices

  • Animal Production: manure management, watering systems
  • Crop Production: agroforestry
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    In this grant, we will address two production issues and one home and urban waste management issue facing our islands’ agriculture. The production issues are livestock waste from washout systems causing nutrient and pathogen transport to surface water and into our water lens; and low soil organic matter and nutrient content of soils for fruit and vegetable production. The third issue is the filling of trench mini landfills used for urban/household garbage, with biodegradable organic waste, better utilized as litter and soil amendments.

    This grant will introduce an innovative technology (to the islands, old to European agriculture) dry litter/deep litter waste management systems. These systems have been pioneered in Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam but not yet in the Marshall Islands. We will identify and utilize surplus/waste organic materials on our islands as a dry litter in our pens. The deep litter method involves regular adding of organic farm waste as litter to the pen over previous compacted litter. The litter absorbs the feces and urine and is compacted by the animals, the regular adding of fresh litter provides a dry clean surface for the animals. Periodically the litter is removed and applied to agricultural plots to build the soil. Changing from washout wet pens, to dry/deep litter system will require modification of tradition pens and watering systems to exclude water. This will also provide more sanitary and relatively odor free pens.  The project will integrate the production cycles and reduce imports/cost to the farm.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research/Demonstration Objective 1: Increase Marshall Island farmers’ adoption of dry litter waste management systems.

    Activity 1:  With the participating farmers identify waste materials that can be used for dry litter in hog and chicken systems.

    Activity 2:  Set up, on campus, swine and chicken dry litter waste management demonstrations based on locally available resources for small scale farmers.

    Activity 3:  Hold workshop for participating farmers at campus dry litter demonstration.

    Activity 4:  Assist participating farmers in the modification of a portion of their current facility for dry litter and/or construct a small demonstration dry litter pen.

    Activity 5: Farmers will keep time logs comparing conventional washout vs. dry litter for 3 months.

    Research/Demonstration Objective 2: Promote farmer use of dry litter as a high nutrient soil amendment, through direct field application, to fruits and fallow plots to increase soil fertility.

    Activity 1: Monthly application of dry litter from pens to fruit and fallow plots.

    Research/Demonstration Objective 3:  Increase Marshall Island farmers’ adoption of composting of dry litter for use in vegetable and fruit plots.

    Activity 1: Conduct on campus workshop for participating farmers on small scale composting system of dry litter.

    Activity 2: Farmers set up composting systems on their farm.

    Activity 3: Farmer application of compost to fruit and vegetable plots.

    Outreach/Communication Objective 1: Increase Marshall Island farmer’s awareness and adoption of dry litter livestock waste management systems and the litter’s use as a soil amendment for crops.

    Activity 1: Develop workshop materials and Extension publications on: locally adapted dry litter waste management systems; direct application of litter to fruits and fallow fields; and composting the litter and composts use in vegetable plots.  These materials will be in both English and Marshallese.

    Activity 2: Hold a series of workshops on campus (with participating farmers) and on farmers’ farms.

    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.