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Poultry litter (manure) is an excellent source of plant nutrients and can be a part of most farm nutrient management programs. The term poultry “litter” applies to all dry forms of poultry manure regardless of the presence or absence of any type of bedding material. Currently there are no poultry liquid manure handling systems (lagoons) in Tennessee.

When using poultry litter as a plant nutrient source, a nutrient management plan should be developed to match crop nutritional requirements with nutrients available in the litter. Also, using best management practices outlined in the nutrient management plan will help prevent any surface water and ground water contamination. In addition, the nutrient management plan will assist poultry farmers in estimating the acres of cropland needed to use litter at appropriate agronomic rates.

The poultry nutrient management plan uses nitrogen as the limiting nutrient. In the plan, you must consider realistic yields of crops you grow, crop nutrient requirements and proper timing of litter application to maximize nutrient uptake. If soil tests indicate the existence of extremely high levels of phosphorous and potassium, you should consider limiting further use of poultry litter as a fertilizer.

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PB1644-1M-1/01(Rev) E12-4415-00-008-01

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