Soil Loss and Microbiological Quality of Runoff from Land Treated with Poultry Litter
Journal of Environmental Quality , 9 , 1980

Giddens, J., Barnett, A.P.

Because large amounts of poultry wastes are often applied to hilly land in the southeastern United States, information is needed on the environmental hazards of this practice. A rainfall simulator was used to study the effect of application of poultry litter (manure plus wood residues) on runoff water quality and soil loss, on moderately sloping (7%) land. Increasing rates of litter were surface-applied on fallow soil and grassland and also incorporated in the fallow soil. Runoff and soil loss were drastically decreased by litter application on fallow soil, and runoff was reduced on the grassed soil. The grassed soil had little soil loss with or without litter application. The coliform bacterial content of runoff water from plots receiving the higher application rates of surface-applied litter was appreciable afterward. Incorporating litter into soil generally reduced coliforms during the later stages of runoff. Moderate applications of poultry manure to sloping land (especially grassland) should not create a major water quality problem, unless excessive rainfall occurs.