Poultry waste surplus under control

DELAWARE - Scientific research, changing farm practices and dump trucks have combined to nearly eliminate a poultry manure surplus long viewed as a major threat to Delaware water quality, state agriculture and industry leaders said Thursday.

"We need a handful of small-scale alternatives," to eliminate remaining excess manure, William Rohrer, who directs Delaware's Nutrient Management Commission, said at a briefing Thursday at Deerfield Farm. The poultry, grain and vegetable farm is owned by Roland and Laura Hill near Love Creek, west of Rehoboth Beach.

Poultry farms produce about 280,000 tons of poultry "litter," a mix of wood chips and manure, each year. Studies dating to the late 1990s estimated that the volume until recently was about 150,000 tons higher than the amount state soils can absorb. The leftovers escape into soils, groundwater and streams.

Delaware farms produced about 240 million chickens last year.

Waste from chickens carries large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus that can pollute wells and promote the growth of harmful algae in waterways, robbing streams and bays of oxygen and disrupting aquatic habitats.

Source: delawareonline.com
calendar icon 24 June 2005
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