Then vs Now of Litter Management

By agosto 26, 2019Noticias, PLT
Twenty-five years ago, poultry litter didn’t have to be managed. It was cleaned out after every flock. Today, growing birds on built-up litter—be it multiple flocks or multiple years—is standard, making the management of that litter a vital part of production.
We as an industry have learned a lot over the last 25 years. Look back at how we have seen litter management practices change. Then share your story for a CHANCE TO WIN UP TO $500 in our Litter Stories Sweepstakes.

Our houses, birds and litter have all changed

BEFORE WE….

  • Replaced shavings after each flock; costs were low and disposal was simple
  • Houses had sidewall curtains and were cross ventilated
  • Grew smaller birds with lower protein needs

NOW WE….

  • Grow birds on built-up litter and only clean out as necessary
  • Have tightly controlled houses with solid sidewalls/tunnel ventilation that trap moisture
  • Grow larger, faster growing birds on higher protein feed that increases water consumption, droppings, wet litter and ammonia levels

When it comes to ammonia

BEFORE WE….

  • Never monitored ammonia levels
  • Could easily ventilate the ammonia fluxing off the litter
  • Would till and top dress litter, increasing surface area and raising ammonia levels
  • Focused only on ammonia when built-up litter was first used

NOW WE….

  • Use a variety of devices to keep ammonia levels below 25 ppm 
  • Use ventilation programs and litter amendments to control ammonia; when first introduced, PLT® was shown to reduce fuel costs by 70% due to decreased ventilation
  • Decake only the top crust to remove moisture and minimize surface area to lower ammonia
  • Know we must focus on lowering litter pH to maintain a hospitable growing environment

House management and preparation has changed too

BEFORE WE….

  • Kept houses open during downtime
  • Would pre-heat just prior to chick placement
  • Used windrow composting to control ammonia and then dermatitis
  • Struggled with IBD (infectious bursal disease)

NOW WE….

  • Keep houses closed tight during downtime to retain heat, purge ammonia and keep litter replicating
  • Pre-heat for 48-72 hours prior to chick placement to purge ammonia, and increase effectiveness and longevity of PLT®
  • Know proper windrowing can be used for pathogen control
  • Have IBD vaccines, but face other bacterial challenges; now see the impact of beneficial bacteria and cocci vaccines in litter

So has the way we use and maximize the value of PLT®

BEFORE WE….

  • Only applied PLT® in the brood chamber
  • Applied litter to fields as fertilizer or sold it as a source of income; fertilizer value was low

NOW WE….

  • Leverage whole house and mid-flock applications of PLT®
  • Must have detailed nutrient management plans; PLT®-treated litter is more valuable as fertilizer due to increased nitrogen retention

Share your story of how litter management has changed and win up to $500 in our Litter Stories Sweepstakes!