How to: Stockpile Poultry Litter

US - The high price of commercial fertilizer has greatly increased the demand for poultry litter. According to James Parsons, Extension poultry agent with the Robeson County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, "a few years ago, some poultry farmers considered poultry litter a liability.
calendar icon 19 February 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

It was a waste product that had to be removed from poultry houses and fed to cattle or used as a fertilizer source for crop production. Now, poultry litter is in high demand from crop farmers who want it for its fertilizer value. I have not heard of a poultry farmer recently that had difficulty finding a home for his litter."

While poultry litter is in demand by crop farmers and much is being stockpiled, it may be time to review some of the regulations related to poultry litter.

  1. Poultry litter cannot be stockpiled closer than 100 feet from a perennial stream or perennial waterbody or well.
  2. Each field that receives an application of poultry litter must be in someone's nutrient management plan.
  3. Poultry litter cannot be spread within 25 feet of perennial waters.
  4. Poultry litter cannot be spread within 100 feet of wells.
  5. Poultry litter cannot be spread within 200 feet of a dwelling other than those owned by the landowner.
  6. Poultry litter must be sampled within 60 days of application.
  7. Poultry litter must be applied at nitrogen agronomic rates or phosphorous agronomic rates if the phosphorous index is above the trigger value for the soil type receiving the litter. Anyone receiving cost-share monies must adhere to the phosphorous rates.
  8. Poultry litter must be applied to fields on an actively growing crop, a crop that will break dormancy within 30 days, or on a field where a crop will be planted within 30 days.
  9. Litter that is stockpiled more than 15 days must be covered. Plastic covers will suffice.

"Over the last few weeks, I have seen numerous fields with UNCOVERED stockpiled poultry litter. I hope this litter will be applied according to the regulations listed above and covered if it will be stockpiled more than 15 days," stated Parsons.

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