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Poultry litter sampling and testing

Charles Goan, Forbes Walker



Poultry litter can be a valuable resource when properly applied as a fertilizer to pasture, hay, small grains and row crops. To effectively use poultry litter as a fertilizer, nutrient content of the litter must be determined. This is easily done by laboratory analysis. However, laboratory results are no better than the sample collected for analysis. Many Tennessee poultry farmers are required to develop a nutrient management plan for their farming operation. In completing the plan, poultry litter sampling and testing are necessary to determine the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the litter.


The nutrient content of poultry litter will vary depending upon type of birds, number of flocks raised on the litter, type of bedding, moisture content and stockpiling time before field application.


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Article made possible through the contribution of University of Tennessee.

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