THE REAL VALUE OF CHICKEN LITTER
By applying poultry litter to your land, you are not just applying Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium but a nutrient rich product containing a complex range of micro nutrients and microbes that will build up soil fertility and assist in maximising plant growth.
Apart from the main N,P, and K elements – important nutrients such as Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper Boron and Molybdenum are also present in small quantities in poultry litter. The role these trace elements play in plant growth is complex, but they are essential in order to guarantee healthy, vigorous plant growth.
By applying chicken litter you are not only providing crops with nutrients, but you are also building up the organic matter in the soil which is increasingly recognised as being beneficial to the structure and wellbeing of the soil.
As the nutrients in poultry litter are in both mineral and organic forms, this means a proportion of the Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium is immediately available to plants while the remainder must react in the soil to change into a form which is available for plant use which ensures a longer period of nutrient availability to the plants.
Whilst some Nitrogen in poultry litter is in the form of ammonia, this can be lost to the atmosphere unless cultivated or washed into the soil quickly. However, the main benefit of this form of Nitrogen is that it is readily available for the plant to utilise. There are other forms of nitrogen within poultry litter that become available to the plant over the longer term.
Nitrogen (N) is a key element in plant growth.
Phosphorus (P) helps transfer energy from sunlight to plants, stimulates early root growth and hastens maturity.
Potassium (K) increases vigour and disease resistance in plants. It also helps form and move starches, sugars and oils in plants.
Calcium (Ca) is essential for root health, growth of new roots and root hairs, and the development of leaves.
Magnesium (Mg) is a key component of chlorophyll, the green colouring material of plants, and it is vital for photosynthesis which is the conversion of the suns energy to food for the plant.
Sulphur (S) is a constituent of amino acids in plant proteins and is involved in energy producing processes in plants.
Iron (Fe) is a constituent of many compounds that regulate and promote growth.
Manganese (Mn) helps with photosynthesis.
Copper (Cu) is an essential constituent of enzymes in plants.
Zinc (Zn) helps in the production of a plant hormone responsible for stem elongation and leaf expansion.
Boron (B) helps with the formation of cell walls in rapidly growing tissue.
Molybdenum (Mo) helps bacteria and soil organisms convert nitrogen in the air to soluble nitrogen compounds in the soil, so is particularly needed by legumes. It is also essential in the formation of proteins from the soluble nitrogen compounds.
The SASTAK litter team aim to match customers needs with the nearest suppliers in order to minimise transport costs. Delivery can be by tractor and trailer or lorry, be that artic or rigids, and can be tailored to the customers tipping conditions. Customers need to be aware of their responsibilities for storing poultry litter in order to comply with environmental regulations.
Sastak has access to contractors with the latest specialised spreading equipment. Many operators are now using GPS and also spreaders with weigh load facilities in order to ensure accurate spreading of litter. The ability to spread accurately to 24 metres has seen a big increase in poultry litter being used as the first nitrogen application to cereal crops in the Spring.
Application rates must be governed by RB209, but a guide application rate for most cereal crops, depending on litter analysis would be between 2 and 3 tonnes per acre (5.0 to 7.0 tonnes per hectare).
Typical analytical results: