In-house windrow composting is a cost-effective best management practice that reduces the amount of micro-organisms in poultry litter before it is removed from poultry houses. This project will demonstrate the environmental effects and benefits of treating poultry litter using in-house windrow composting.
Many of the 295 water bodies that are impaired by bacteria throughout the state are located in the poultry-producing regions of Texas. Poultry production has expanded significantly in recent years in Falls, Limestone, and surrounding counties. An estimated 550 new poultry houses have been built in this area, producing approximately 60 million broilers annually. If improperly managed, litter (the combination of bedding material and manure) removed from the facilities and land-applied represents a threat to water quality through bacterial and nutrient runoff from these fields.
Cost-effective best management practices (BMPs) are needed to reduce the environmental impacts from new and existing facilities. One such BMP is in-house windrow composting (IWC) of poultry litter. IWC is a management strategy used by commercial poultry producers to reduce pathogenic micro-organisms in litter and improve the overall quality between successive flocks reared on the same litter.
The Environmental Effects of In-House Windrow Composting of Poultry Litter project will demonstrate the environmental effects of treating poultry litter using IWC. It is anticipated that the IWC procedure should eliminate most E. coli in the litter, thus reducing the potential for bacterial contamination of water resources. If successfully demonstrated, IWC could be used by poultry producers as a standard, cost-effective BMP to reduce the microbial load of poultry litter before it is removed from poultry houses.