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Chicken litter provides organic alternative to synthetic fertilizers
Date:3/3/2011

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, MSRecent movements aimed at managing environmental impacts of agriculture have spurred interest in the development and use of organic and natural fertilizers for commercial applications. Many organic fertilizers are byproducts of livestock, fish, food, and other processing industries. In Mississippi, where the poultry industry produces more than 730 million broiler chickens each year, and annual chicken litter production is estimated at more than 730,000 tons, there is a naturally abundant supply of chicken litter available for fertilizer.

New research from scientists at Mississippi State University, in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Southern Agricultural Laboratory, investigated the effects of two non-composted broiler chicken litter-based organic fertilizers and one commonly used synthetic controlled-release fertilizer on marigold growth and flowering. The research study, published HortScience, indicated that some broiler litter-based fertilizers have the potential to be used as organic fertilizer sources for container production of marigolds in greenhouses."Despite having lower nutrient concentrations than many synthetic fertilizers, similar broiler litter-based fertilizers have been shown to be effective plant fertilizers. For growers wishing to use these and other natural fertilizers in their production systems, the biggest question is how the fertilizers should be managed", stated Guihong Bi, corresponding author of the study. "How litter-based fertilizer behaves in an actual greenhouse setting remains a significant question."

The researchers conducted two experiments designed to evaluate the growth and flowering responses of greenhouse-grown French marigold (Tagetes patula L. 'Janie Deep Orange') to two non-composted broiler chicken litter-based organic fertilizers, 4𔃀𔃀 and 3𔃁𔃁, and one commonly used synthetic controlled-release fertilizer, 14󈝺󈝺. In both experiments, fer
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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