Date of this Version
A 3-year study was conducted to determine the effects of broiler litter relative to inorganic fertilizer on soil nutrient content and quality in an upland Loring silt loam soil. Treatments included annual broiler litter rates of 0, 2.2, 4.5, 5.6, 6.7, 10.1, and 13.4 Mg ha−1 y−1 and commercial fertilizer rates of 34, 68, 90, 112, 134, and 168 kg nitrogen (N) ha−1 y−1. Broiler litter application linearly increased soil total carbon (C), microbial biomass C, extractable soil phosphorus (P), potassium (K), soil cation exchange capacity (CEC), and the stability of soil aggregate. At the highest broiler litter rate, the stability of soil aggregate was 34% greater than inorganic fertilizer. Application of broiler litter or fertilizer N at rate greater than 6.7 Mg ha−1 or 90 kg N ha−1, respectively, exceeded plant N utilization potential as evidenced by higher end-of-season soil residual nitrate (NO3)-N. Broiler litter is more effective in improving soil physical, chemical, and biological components than conventional fertilizer.