Environmental Quality and Waste Management at OSU

Waste Management


Manure and other by-products of poultry production are significant sources of phosphorus, nitrogen, organic matter, and other potential pollutants in Eastern Oklahoma watersheds.  Oklahoma has more than 700 broiler farms with capacity for more than 250 million birds and producing about 200,000 tons of litter annually.  Litter can be either a liability or a benefit, depending on whether it must be treated as a waste or recycled as a soil amendment,  energy resource or feedstock for some other process.  There is strong evidence that the production of forage in Northeastern Oklahoma has been enhanced by poultry waste by-products.  These potential benefits need to be utilized safely in conservation systems where soils are deficient in both phosphorus and organic matter.  Research needs include studies of the economics of transportation, disposal, and recycling to the land.  Generally the impact of nitrogen from poultry litter is ignored in light of the bigger issue of phosphorus; however, high nitrogen concentration in ground water is also a concern in Northeastern Oklahoma. 

Although these materials are viewed as pollutants, they also have considerable potential for raising the fertility of Oklahoma soils. Research is needed to provide practical guidelines for landowners and applicators and identify management practices that will assure the nutrients and organic matter can be recycled without degrading the environment.

For more information contact Doug Hamilton 405-744-7089

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