Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


Poultry production throughout Southern Kentucky is becoming a major agricultural enterprise. Rapid spread of the industry has led to many agricultural advances as well as concerns. One primary concerns is the possible nutrient build-up in pasture and cropland as a result of broiler litter application. Studies were conducted at Western Kentucky University using sorghum sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) as a forage to possibly remove excess nutrients. This project led to a consideration of using a cover crop to further remove nutrients from broiler litter amended soils. This study's objective was to assess total nutrient removal by sorghum sudangrass followed by a rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop compared to single crop of sorghum sudangrass as a tool for preventing excess soil nutrient accumulation. A randomized complete block experiment was established in 2005 with four replications and four treatments was conducted: litter applied at recommended nitrogen [Litter-N] rate; litter applied at the recommended P rate with commercial nitrogen [Litter-P+N]; litter applied at the recommended P rate [Litter-Pj; and soil amended with inorganic fertilizer [INORG], Sorghum sudangrass was seeded in the spring and rye planted after the last harvest of the season. Forage acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), crude protein (CP), P, Cu, Fe, and Zn were determined, as well as soil nutrient levels. After analyzing the data from one year, 2005, it was determined that, although differences were noted, the rye cover crop did not mitigate available soil P, Cu, and Zn.



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