Effect of Cropping System on Residual Soil P from Poultry Litter Application

in HortScience

When poultry litter (PL) is applied to meet the nitrogen (N) needed for plant growth, phosphorus (P) can accumulate, leading to non-point source pollution of surface water. This study was conducted at Overton, Texas on a Bowie fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Plinthic Paleudults) to investigate the use of warm- and cool-season forage legumes in rotational cropping systems to remove excess P. Cropping systems were: spring legume—fall vegetable (SL-FV), spring vegetable—fall legume (SV-FL), and spring vegetable-fall vegetable (SV-FV). Warm- and cool-season legumes were Iron and Clay cowpea and crimson clover, respectively. Poultry litter rates were 0, 1X, 2X, 4X, and commercial blend (CB) as subplots. Fertility treatments were applied to vegetable plots only. The crop, IX PL and CB rate for each season were: spring 1995—watermelon, 2.2 t·ha-1, 48.8N—12.2P—28K kg·ha-1; fall 1995—turnip, 8.3 t·ha-1, 89.6N—24.4P—28K kg·ha-1; spring 1996—tomato, 6.7 t·ha-1, 100.9N—17.1P—78.5K kg·ha-1. Soil P increased at all depths sampled (0-15, 15-30, and 30-45 cm) as PL rate increased. Residual P from CB was equal to the control. Through spring 1996, soil P concentration in the surface 0-15 cm was increased by all systems. System SV-FL reduced P accumulation by 35.6 mg·kg-1 when compared to SL-FV and 44.7 mg·kg-1 when compared to SV-FV. Residual P continued to increase as PL rate increased. Rate of increase was reduced by a system of SV-FL.

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