stringTEST
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations in Soils within Turkey - Poultry [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Poultry
Illinois Livestock Trail
FULL TEXT PAPER
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations in Soils within Turkey
by Ken W. Koelkebeck, Scott Nally, Bill Simmons


INTRODUCTION

In the past 15 years there has been considerable growth and expansion in the turkey industry in the State of Illinois. This increased production has brought about some concern by regulatory agencies over the possibility of contaminating ground water by leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus from within a turkey house. Studies conducted previously have reported increased concentrations of nitrogen in soil samples from beneath the floors of poultry houses compared to soil samples from outside of houses (Lomax, et al., 1995; Zhu, 1999). In addition, Haberstroh (1997) found that nitrogen concentrations were higher in soils under turkey barn floors than in soils outside the barns. Thus, the present study was conducted to determine the degree of leaching of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil from inside several turkey barns as compared to levels in the soil outside the barns. In addition, the degree of permeability was determined in the first 11 in of soil within vs outside the turkey barns.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Three turkey farms located in Southeastern Illinois were selected for this study. On each farm, samples were taken for soil nutrient analysis and soil permeability from earthen floors from one of the turkey barns. The soil type, percent clay and expected permeability for each farm is presented in Table 1. These farms were picked for sampling because they accurately represented the various sizes of turkey barns and locations of the most common soil types that typify those found in these counties in Southeastern Illinois.

TABLE 1. Description of soil type, percent clay, and permeability for each farm1

  SOIL TYPE DEPTH PERCENT CLAY PERMEABILITY
    (in) (%) (in/hr)
Farm A 14C2 Ava 0-10 27-35 .6-2.0
  silt loam 10-24 22-33 .6-2.0
    24-34 24-35 .2-.6
    34-50 20-30 <.06
    50-60 20-30 .2-.6
Farm B 12 Wynoose 0-9 15-25 .6-2.0
  silt loam 9-22 12-18 .06-.2
    22-45 35-42 <.06
    45-60 25-37 .06-.2
Farm C 214B Hosmer 0-6 10-17 .6-2.0
  silt loam 6-24 24-30 .6-2.0
    24-60 16-20 <.06
1Data obtained from local Illinois State Geological Survey Office.

For Farm A, the first samples were taken from a brooder barn that measured 40 x 500 ft. The farm has a housing capacity of 21,500 hens per flock and has been in existence since June 19, 1987. The second farm (Farm B) consisted of three barns (40 x 500 ft) which has raised turkeys since July of 1987. Samples were taken from growout barn number 2. The farm has a housing capacity of 21,500 hens per flock. Finally, Farm C consisted of a brooder barn built in 1986 and a growout barn built in December of 1990. Samples were taken from growout barn number 2 (50 x 500 ft). The farm has a housing capacity of 13,500 hens per flock.

SOIL SAMPLING PROCEDURES AND TECHNIQUES

For each of the barns sampled on Farms A, B, and C there were a total of 12 soil borings; nine soil borings taken from within the barns and three soil borings taken from outside the barns. For this procedure, an Illinois State Geological Survey Probe truck was used to collect the soil bores. Samples were taken from a 5 x 10 ft rectangular area 1/3, 1/2 , and 2/3 of the distance from one end of the barn. Samples were collected in this manner due to the ceiling height of each barn. In addition, soil borings were taken from three locations on the outside of each barn approximately 20 ft from the side and end wall. For each bore, the first 5 ft of depth was separated into five 1-ft sections. The initial bore took a 4-ft section, then went back in the same bore hole and removed the next 1-ft section. Immediately after collecting the five 1-ft sections, the separated soil bore samples were placed into pre-labeled plastic sample bags and transported in a cooler twice a day to a commercial laboratory for analysis of soil nutrients.

After the soil bore samples were taken from a barn, core samples for permeability were taken. For soil permeability a cylindrical soil core (3 x 3 in) was taken using a Uhland core sampling device. For each barn, 15 individual core samples were taken at each location where samples were taken for soil nutrients. Three core samples were taken at three depths (approximately 1 to 3, 5 to 7, and 9 to 11 in) from the inside and two samples at the same depths were taken from the outside. All samples were wrapped in aluminum foil to keep the sample intact until soil permeability was measured.

In addition to the soil bore samples for soil nutrients and core samples for permeability, a core sample was taken outside each barn to a depth of about 28 ft. Pictures were taken of this core sample for each 4-ft section to determine the type of soil (clay, sand, or clay/sand combination) present.

SOIL NUTRIENT AND PERMEABILITY LABORATORY ANALYSIS

After all soil samples were taken, the soil bore samples were analyzed for soil nutrients and soil properties by a private laboratory. The samples were analyzed for total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), total phosphorus (P2), potassium (K), soil pH, and percent organic matter (OM). The TKN, NO3-N, and P2 values are presented in parts per million concentration (ppm).

Soil permeability was measured on all 45 core samples following the procedures outlined by Klute and Dirksen (1986). The data are reported as cm/sec or the rate at which water flowed through each core. For each core sample, water was flushed through the core three times, then the average permeability was recorded.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

For the soil nutrient and permeability values presented, the data was analyzed by ANOVA using the General Linear Models procedure of SAS7 software (SAS Institute, 1985) consistent for a 3 x 2 x 5 (farm x location x depth) factorial arrangement of treatments. The data is presented for each farm (A, B, or C) and overall for all farms. The values for soil nutrients and permeabilities were compared for the inside vs the outside for each farm and all farms at each depth. The permeability data was analyzed on the log of the permeabilities, then transformed back to the original values.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

SOIL NUTRIENTS, PH, AND ORGANIC MATTER

For the individual farms A, B, and C, the results for TKN and NO3-N are presented in Tables 2 and 3. For farms A and B, the concentration of TKN was significantly greater (P < .05) for the inside vs outside locations for the top 3 ft. For farm C, the concentration of TKN was greater for the inside vs outside locations for the top 2 ft. Total Kjeldahl nitrogen was not different between inside and outside locations for the 4- and 5-ft depths for farms A and B, and 3- to 5-ft depths for farm C.

TABLE 2. Average concentration of total kjeldahl nitrogen at each depth for inside and outside locations1

   

LOCATION

FARM

DEPTH

INSIDE

OUTSIDE

 

(ft)

--------------------(ppm)-------------------

Farm A

1

2

3

4

5

2974a

1745a

902a

394a

433a

1111b

448b

360b

337a

218a

Farm B

1

2

3

4

5

1663a

1315a

1147a

546a

683a

799b

377b

390b

310a

406a

Farm C

1

2

3

4

5

2172a

1628a

656a

328a

355a

1097b

977b

622a

311a

319a

1Values are means for nine inside and three outside samples at each depth for farms A, B, and C.

a,bMeans within a row and farm with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

Significantly greater concentrations of NO3-N were found for inside vs outside locations for depths of 1 to 3 and 5 ft for farm A (Table 3). There was an increase in NO3-N concentration at the 5-ft depth compared to the 4-ft depth for farm A. Nitrate nitrogen concentration was not different (P > .05) for all inside vs outside depths for farm B, while NO3-N concentrations were greater (P < .05) for inside vs outside locations at all depths for farm C.

TABLE 3. Average concentration of nitrate nitrogen at each depth for inside and outside locations1

   

LOCATION

FARM

DEPTH

INSIDE

OUTSIDE

 

(ft)

--------------------(ppm)-------------------

Farm A

1

2

3

4

5

425a

403a

153a

34a

87a

16b

13b

5b

7a

7b

Farm B

1

2

3

4

5

90a

45a

11a

6a

10a

65a

57a

45a

9a

40a

Farm C

1

2

3

4

5

497a

495a

431a

185a

260a

18b

17b

8b

7b

24b

1Values are means for nine inside and three outside samples at each depth for farms A, B, and C.

a,bMeans within a row and farm with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

The results for K are similar to those shown for TKN in relation to the concentration of K at each depth for the inside vs outside samples (data not shown). The concentration of K was found to be greater (P < .05) for the top 2 ft for the inside vs outside locations for farms A and C, while no difference in K concentration were noted between the inside and outside locations at the 3- to 5-ft depths. For farm B, K concentrations were greater (P < .05) for the 1- to 3-ft depths, while no differences in K concentration was noted at the 4- and 5-ft depths for inside vs outside locations.

The results obtained for P2 (data not shown) showed that no significant differences in P2 concentrations between the inside and outside locations were found for farm A and C; however, greater (P < .05) P2 concentrations were recorded for the inside vs outside locations at the 1-, 3-, and 5-ft depths for farm B. Total phosphorus did not differ between inside vs outside locations for farm B at the 2- and 4-ft depths.

In addition to the soil nutrients measured, soil pH and OM were analyzed for each farm (data not shown). In general, soil pH for farms A and B were higher (more alkaline) for the inside vs outside samples at depths 1, 2, 3, and 1, 2, 3, and 4 ft, respectively for farm A and B. For farm C, higher (P < .05) pH soils were recorded at the 3- and 4-ft depths on the inside vs outside. For percent OM, no consistent results were found for the inside vs outside samples at all depths for each farm.

Figures 1, 2, and 3 depicts the results for soil nutrients for all three farms averaged together by each soil sample depth. For the most part, the results depicted in these figures are similar to the data presented for the individual farms. In Figure 1, TKN concentration was greater (P < .05) for inside vs outside samples of soil depths of 1, 2, and 3 ft, but not for the 4- and 5-ft samples (P > .05).

FIGURE 1. Average concentration of total Kjeldahl nitrogen for all farms at each depth and location. Means are the average of 27 inside and nine outside samples. a,bMeans within each depth with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

In Figure 2, the results for NO3-N averaged over all farms showed that greater (P < .05) concentrations occurred for inside vs outside samples at all depths. However, the magnitude of differences was very small at the 4- and 5-ft depth compared to depths 1, 2, and 3 ft.

FIGURE 2. Average concentration of nitrate for all farms at each depth and location. Means are the average of 27 inside and nine outside samples. a,bMeans within each depth with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

The results for P2 (Figure 3) show that P2 did not considerably migrate in the soil.

FIGURE 3. Average concentration of total phosphorus for all farms at each depth and location. Means are the average of 27 inside and nine outside samples. a,bMeans within each depth with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

The data for the concentration of K, soil pH, and percent OM revealed that the concentration of K was greater for depths 1 to 4 ft for inside vs outside samples, but not different for the 5-ft samples (data not shown). Higher (P < .05) soil pH (more alkaline) was found for the inside vs outside samples at 1, 2, and 3 ft.

The data presented on the concentration of TKN and NO3-N in particular were similar to that reported by Zhu (1999) and Haberstroh (1997). In the present study, increased concentrations of TKN were found for inside soil samples for the first 3-ft depth, but not for the 4- and 5-ft depth compared to outside samples. This indicates that over a 10 to 12 year period of growing turkeys in these buildings, TKN only migrated about 4 ft below the surface of the ground within the turkey barns. The data presented for NO3-N revealed that this nutrient migrated about 5 ft or more below the surface of the inside of the turkey barns. A possible reason that NO3-N seemed to migrate further in the soil from within the turkey barns was because the sub-floor of the inside of the barns were mixed with backfill (organically enriched) soil at the time of building construction.

The results presented for TKN, NO3-N, P2, and K indicated that concentrations of these soil nutrients actually tended to increase from the 4- to 5-ft depth both on the inside and outside. The reason for this can be explained by the sampling method used. Since the geoprobe truck probe unit could only take a 4-ft deep sample, the unit had to extract that sample then re-enter the same bore to get the 5-ft sample. Thus, some top soil probably fell in the bore hole and contaminated the 5-ft sample. The data presented for P2 indicated that this nutrient basically does not migrate in the soil like TKN and NO3-N does.

SOIL PERMEABILITY AND SOIL TYPE

Table 4 depicts the average soil permeability of the inside vs outside samples at the three depths measured for each farm. For farms A and C, average soil permeability was not different (P > .05) for inside vs outside samples at any of the three depths. For farm B, average permeability was lower (P < .05) for the first 1 to 3 in inside vs outside depth sample.

TABLE 4. Average permeability of soils at each depth for both locations for each farm1

    LOCATION
FARM DEPTH INSIDE OUTSIDE
  (in) -- (cm/sec) --
Farm A 1 to 3 1.09 x 10-4a 1.74 x 10-5a
  5 to 7 7.62 x 10-5a 8.19 x 10-5a
  9 to 11 1.77 x 10-4a 6.70 x 10-5a
Farm B 1 to 3 1.59 x 10-7a 1.16 x 10-2b
  5 to 7 2.35 x 10-8a 1.76 x 10-3a
  9 to 11 4.33 x 10-6a 1.81 x 10-7a
Farm C 1 to 3 5.09 x 10-7a 1.25 x 10-3a
  5 to 7 1.93 x 10-6a 2.13 x 10-3a
  9 to 11 1.52 x 10-6a 2.20 x 10-4a

1Permeability values are means for three inside and two outside samples for each depth for farms A, B, and C. Statistical analysis was computed on the log of the permeability values then transformed back to the original values.

a,bMeans within a row and farm with no common superscript differ significantly (P < .05).

The results presented for soil permeability indicate that the compaction produced by the turkeys inside the barns helped to lower the permeability of soil within the barns. This was particularly evident for farms B and C. For farm B lower permeability values were found inside the turkey barn compared to the outside at the 1 to 5 in depth because a considerable amount of backfill dirt was packed onto the turkey barn floor during construction of the building. In fact, a majority of the houses constructed by Perdue Farms utilizes backfill dirt as a subbase for the barn floor. The reason that permeability of soil samples from the inside locations of farm A were the same as the outside may be due to the fact that the turkey barn on this farm was used mostly as a brooder, so the lighter birds would not have produced as much compaction as on farms B and C. It should also be noted that there were three inside permeability core samples that did not allow water to penetrate through them while only one outside sample did not allow the passage of water through it during the laboratory analysis.

For the type of soil found for each farm at a depth of 28 ft, the pictures of the 4-ft sections (pictures not shown) revealed a clay base for all three farms. For farm A, bore samples were taken to a depth of 28 ft, and at that point the geoprobe hit limestone bedrock and could not penetrate any further. The samples taken to that point revealed a brownish gray clay soil type. Observation of the core samples that were taken from all farms indicated th







« Back to Poultry

top