A disease issue and the response in 2011 led to litter supply issues at the beginning of the growing season. No problems are apparent at this time (late February). This report is specifically for cotton, but litter is an excellent source of nutrients for other crops.
Poultry litter has long been used to provide nutrients for pastures, hay, and other crops in the south-central Mississippi broiler production region. Volatile fertilizer prices increased interest among cotton producers in using litter as a nutrient source. Fortunately, there is extensive research conducted with poultry litter as a nutrient source for cotton within the state, under Mississippi climatic conditions and on Mississippi soils.
Mississippi ranks among the top five states in both numbers of broiler chickens grown and quantity of meat produced. Broiler production primarily is located in the south central region using production houses with smoothed soil floors usually covered with 4 to 6 inches of wood shavings. Wet material (termed cake) is removed from the house floor after each flock is removed, commonly five to six times annually. Periodically, all the material is removed in a house cleanout. This is commonly termed litter and is a mixture of bedding material, manure, feathers, and spilled feed.