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Title: Identification of suitability indices of poultry litter for cowpea and maize production
Authors: Amoah, Philip
Issue Date: 5-Feb-2000
Series/Report no.: 2829;
Abstract: Increase in poultry production in recent years has led to a corresponding increase in associated litter. In view of the declining fertility of the soil, especially in the pen-urban areas, farmers in these areas have identified and used poultry litter as soil amendment. The potential negative impact of poultry litter on the environment has increased the concerns of many scientists. The study therefore sought to obtain background information on the preparation, methods of application of poultry litter, identify indicators that reflect their potential as non point pollutant and to identify microbiological, chemical and physical characteristics of the litter that could serve as suitable indicators of maturity and suitability of poultry litter for crop production. A questionnaire survey was carried out among randomly selected poultry and crop farmers who use poultry litter as a soil amendment to obtain background information on the preparation and use of poultry litter. The following analyses were performed on 30 poultry litter samples of different ages: Total organic carbon using wet oxidation method, total nitrogen by the macro-kjedahl method, available phosphorus by spectrophotometnic methods and pH by the use of a Pye Unicorn pH meter. The temperature, colour and the moisture content of the litter samples were determined using conventional methods. The total and faecal coliform numbers in each sample were also determined and faecal coliforms in each sample isolated and identified using routine microbiological procedures. The suitability of litter for cultivation of cowpea and maize was determined in pot trials by incorporating known quantities of litter in soil for the growth of these crops. Cowpea and maize yields were determined on dry weight basis eight weeks after cultivation. Changes in physical, chemical and microbiological characteristics (time series) of heaped litter were determined over a period of eight weeks using nine and three months old litter heaps. The results indicate that there is no prior treatment of poultry by both poultry and crop farmers before application and therefore the potential to cause epidemiological problems and environmental pollution exist since potential pathogens like Salmonella, Shigella and E. coil were isolated from all untreated poultry litter samples. However, heaped litter samples showed no or little tendency to cause pollution problems. The potential of poultry litter as a soil amendment was confirmed. Cowpea seems to be more susceptible to the harmful effects of ‘immature’ poultry litter. The temperature in the pots three days after planting (T3 DAP), together with the age of the litter and the organic carbon content, could explain about 73% of the cowpea yield variations. An old and if possible heaped litter sample which is no longer generating heat can be considered as sufficiently matured for crop production.
Description: A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science, 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/2609
Appears in Collections:College of Agric and Natural Resources

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