Using Sewage and Broiler Litter Soil Amendments for Establishing Grass and Legume Pastures


  • Lauren Borst


In much of the world we are concentrating both humans and animals, resulting in manures that need to be recycled to return nutrients back on productive lands where foods are grown. The continual harvesting of foods, sending them to cities and cities placing these human wastes in lagoons and dumps has concentrated much needed nutrients away from production areas. While producers use fertilizers as soil amendments, often these purchased fertilizers lack the array of micro-nutrients required by plants that are present in manures, eventually leading to lowered productivity and higher costs of production. We are using processed human wastes from the City of Livingston to return nutrients back to agricultural production areas to help end the concentration of nutrients in landfills. Further, we are also applying broiler litter, a product comprised of bedding, chicken wastes, feeds, feathers, etc., that have been properly composted to determine impacts of varying levels of these nutrients on establishing grasses and legumes in livestock pastures. Recycled human wastes will be applied to a 22 acre pasture at rates of 0, 4 or 8 tons/acre, with pastures planted to native grasses using for grazing. Further, a small plot within the 22 acre pasture will be planted to seven different cool-season plants, including white clover, Will ladino clover, red clover, crimson clover, KY 31 Tall Fescue, common orchardgrass, and perennial ryegrass. Plots will be evaluated for rates of establishment and growth during the first growing season based upon amendment rates of application.