Optimal Poultry Litter Management through GIS-based Transportation Analysis System

  • Kang, M.S. (Biosystems Engineering Department, 200 Corley Building, Auburn University) ;
  • Srivastava, P. (Biosystems Engineering Department, Auburn University) ;
  • Fulton, J.P. (Biosystems Engineering Department, Auburn University) ;
  • Tyson, T. (Biosystems Engineering Department, Auburn University) ;
  • Owsley, W.F. (Animal Science Department, Auburn University) ;
  • Yoo, K.H. (Biosystems Engineering Department, Auburn University)
  • Published : 2006.12.30


Concentrated poultry production in the State of Alabama, U.S.A. results in excessive poultry litter. Application of poultry litter to pastures and row crops serves as a cheap alternative to commercial fertilizer. However, over the years, poultry litter application to perennial forage crops in the Appalachian Plateau region of North Alabama has resulted in phosphorus (P) buildup in soils. Phosphorus index (P-index) and comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP) are often used as a best management practice (BMP) for proper land application of litter. Because nutrient management planning is often not done for small animal feeding operations (AFOs), and also because, in case of excess litter, litter transportation infrastructure has not been developed, over application of poultry litter to near by area is a common practice. To alleviate this problem, optimal poultry litter management and transportation infrastructure needs to be developed. This paper presents a methodology to optimize poultry litter application and transportation through efficient nutrient management planning and transportation network analysis. The goal was accomplished through implementation of three important modules, a P-Index module, a CNMP module, and a transportation network analysis module within ArcGIS, a Geographic Information System (GIS). The CNMP and P-Index modules assist with land application of poultry litter at a rate that is protective of water quality, while the transportation network analysis module helps transport excess litter to areas requiring litter in the Appalachian Plateau and Black Belt (a nutrient-deficient area) regions. Once fully developed and implemented, such a system will help alleviate water quality problems in the Appalachian Plateau region and poor soil fertility problems in the Black Belt region by optimizing land application and transportation. The utility of the methodology is illustrated through a hypothetical case study.


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