Poultry Production’s Potential Pollutants impacts on Water and Soil

Poultry plants steadily increase production of eggs and poultry meat. However, except their main product, poultry housing and operation zones simultaneously produce proportional amounts of wastes – poultry manure, sewage water, nonfood products of killing rooms, fallen poultry, hair, and feathers, manure being produced in most considerable quantities. Poultry plants allocate vast territories for storing manure that produces unpleasant odors.

Issues relates to Poultry Production on Water and Soil-

Most poultry manure and litter are applied to land near poultry production farms. With few exceptions, this is the preferred practice in developing countries and elsewhere. Such land management of poultry by-products brings the risk of surface and groundwater contamination from potential pollutants contained in the manure and litter. Its value depends on several factors, including the agronomic potential of the receiving crop(s) to utilize the waste nutrients, the receiving soil type and specific geological conditions of the land being utilized, the distance to nearby surface and groundwaters, the amount of vegetated areas (riparian buffers) adjacent to nearby surface waters, and the climate.

Nutrient loading and build-up within a geological region is ecologically important and has an impact on the diversity and productivity of essential, naturally occurring living organisms within that region.

The issue is increasingly complex owing to the trend for producing meat and eggs under intensified systems that require grain to be imported into production regions to meet feedstock requirements. This often leads to nutrient imbalances, and adverse environmental or health effects can occur when land application of the nutrients exceeds crop utilization potential, or if poor management results in nutrient loss due to soil erosion or surface runoff during rainfall. Surface or groundwater contamination by manure nutrients and pathogens is especially serious if drinking-water supplies are affected.

The primary nutrients of concern are nitrogen and phosphorus. The nitrogen compounds contained in manure and litter are very dynamic and can be removed from land by uptake of the receiving crop harvest or by conversion to gases that volatilize into the atmosphere in the form of ammonia, nitrous oxides or harmless di-nitrogen.

Nitrogen is also very mobile in soil, and may be transported to groundwater and/or nearby surface waters. Unlike nitrogen, phosphorus in manure and litter is very immobile, but can leach into shallow groundwater or laterally transport to surface waters via erosion or subsurface runoff under certain climatic, soil and phosphorus concentration conditions.

Nitrogen in the form of nitrates in drinking-water can cause adverse health effects; and both nitrogen and phosphorus in certain concentrations and environmental conditions can result in degradation of surface waters. Regarding nutrient loading from poultry manure and litter, the focus is mainly on nitrogen and phosphorus, but certain metals such as copper and zinc, which may also be contained in poultry excreta, should also be considered when planning long-term sustainable nutrient balance in soils receiving poultry waste.

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