Uses and management of poultry litter

N. S. Bolan, A. A. Szogi, T. Chuasavathi, B. Seshadri, M. J. Rothrock, P. Panneerselvam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

320 Citations (Scopus)


The poultry industry is one of the largest and fastest growing agro-based industries in the world. This can be attributed to an increasing demand for poultry meat and egg products. However, a major problem facing the poultry industry is the large-scale accumulation of wastes including manure and litter which may pose disposal and pollution problems unless environmentally and economically sustainable management technologies are evolved. Most of the litter produced by the poultry industry is currently applied to agricultural land as a source of nutrients and soil amendment. However environmental pollution, resulting from nutrient and contaminant leaching can occur when poultry litter is applied under soil and climatic conditions that do not favour agronomic utilisation of the manure-borne nutrients. This review examines the composition of poultry litter in relation to nutrient content and environmental contaminants, its value as a nutrient source, soil amendment, animal feed and fuel source, and cost-effective innovative technologies for improving its value. Poultry litter provides a major source of nitrogen, phosphorus and trace elements for crop production and is effective in improving physical and biological fertility, indicating that land application remains as the main option for the utilisation of this valuable resource. The alternative use of poultry litter; as an animal feed and fuel source, is limited by contaminants, and high moisture content, respectively. The review proposes best management practices to mitigate environmental consequences associated with air and water quality parameters that are impacted by land application in order to maintain the continued productivity, profitability, and sustainability of the poultry industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-698
Number of pages26
JournalWorld's Poultry Science Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


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