Poultry litter INFORMATION

How it works
Content analysis
Application rate
Delivery arrangements


How it works

Poultry litter is usually based on either fine wood shavings or occasionally

chopped straw. The relatively high nitrogen content ensures a break down of the
 base material, while at the same time it does not need to draw on existing nitrogen
in the soil. Organic manures slowly decompose and liberate the plant food, while
fertilisers supply it all at once and it is soon lost to lower subsoils during wet seasons.

The decay of such material provides energy to fuel Azotabacter; this is the family of bacteria that are able to convert free nitrogen from the atmosphere to a form readily
utilised by plants.

By using organic manures you will enable an even supply of nutrients to your crop
throughout the growing season.

With potatoes for example, you will often notice an extended growth period later in
the season, at the time when bulk is added to the crop.

Content analysis

Approximately 60% of the nitrogen and phosphate from poultry litter is available

during the first season. The remainder becomes available in following years. Care
must be taken with the following seasons cereal crops. It is recommended that
residual nitrogen levels are taken into consideration before application of top
dressing. You should find a flush of growth when soil temperatures reach 10
degrees Centigrade.

Approximately 60% of the potash is available in the first season. See table below.

Typical analysis deep litter (fresh weight)

Kg / tonne 28 13 16 3.8
% Average 1st year 60 60 75 100
Kg / tonne 1st year 17 7.5 12 3.8

Poultry litter as normally supplied will be at approximately 40% or less moisture

content. Therefore no run off will be experienced.
NB. All organic manures should be stored at least 10 metres from any watercourse.

It is finely based material, unlike cattle or pig manure, and therefore lends itself to the
low rates of application recommended (see table below). Tests carried out on stored litter show very little loss of nitrogen.

Application rate

Potatoes 8-14 6-10
Sugar beet 5-8 4-6
Onions 5-8 4-6
Oilseed rape 8-14 6-10
Cereals 4-6 2.5-4.5

The above table provides a rough guide, different soil types and previous applications of

any fertilisers need to be considered.

Delivery arrangements

Delivery is by either articulated or rigid lorry. The rigid lorries carry a nominal 30 cubic metres, the articulated vehicles carry 40 cubic metres. In all cases the vehicles will carry either a maximum volume load, or a maximum weight capacity load. This depends on the moisture content of the litter.

Wherever possible we will try to tip on the field required. Articulated vehicles usually
require a concrete pad.

Typical Poultry litter analysis

34% Nitrogen £/tonne £180
100% Nitrogen £/tonne £529
47% Phosphate £/tonne £215
100% Phosphate £/tonne £457
60% Potash £/tonne £425
100% Potash £/tonne £708
MgO (Kainit) £/tonne £500
N 2.80%
P 1.30%
K 1.60%
Mg 0.38%

Approximate Poultry litter value

N £5.04
P £5.95
K £11.33
Mg £1.90
Total value £24.22

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