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PLAN for Tomorrow: Poultry Litter Application on New Sites

Project Goals/Objectives: Educate 3rd party applicators of poultry litter to the environmental benefits of using proper application management techniques beginning on Day 1 of application on new sites; Demonstrate that poultry litter can be land applied in an environmentally friendly manner that supplies necessary crop nutrients without increasing nutrient levels in runoff and that multiple objectives (such as: profitability, resource utilization, and water quality protection) can be met with this fertilization strategy.

A goal of common interest now and in the future of the environmental and agricultural communities should be to prevent water quality degradation, and thus avoid ecological damage and the need for intense legal and regulatory pressure. Many previous efforts between agriculture and the State of Texas have focused on solving water quality problems after a determination that agriculture contributes to the problem.

In this project, the benefits of a pro-active approach focused on achieving multiple objectives will be demonstrated on an established poultry litter application site near Riesel in Falls and McLennan Counties of Texas. Typically, a single objective such as sustainable agricultural production or short-term economic viability is the focus of agricultural producers; however, increasing concern for agriculture's contribution to water quality degradation is forcing farmers to also consider environmental protection. This type of approach that considers multiple objectives should be effective in minimizing current and preventing future water quality impairments. The approach can be effective on new poultry litter application sites, which are rapidly increasing in number in Central Texas because previous land application sites located near areas with extensive animal operations have reached or soon may reach soil P thresholds.

With the increasing number of new 3rd party land application sites, it is important to demonstrate the benefits of utilizing proper conservation practices from the beginning. This project will also assess the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in segment 1242 of the Brazos River. Land uses in the watershed include intensive rowcrop agriculture and livestock production. Various crop protection and yield enhancing amendments are commonly used in the watershed. In addition, confined animal feeding operations related to poultry production are located in the watershed.

Project Location: Brazos River above Navasota River; Segment 1242

Project Costs: Federal ($210,002); Non Federal Match ($140,126); Total ($350,128)

Project Participant(s): TSSWCB and Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Project Workplan: 05-06

Quality Assurance Project Plan: 05-06

"Protecting and Enhancing Natural Resources since 1939."

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