Extension office hosting Poultry Litter Management meeting Feb. 12

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CULLMAN – Agriculture is the largest industry in Alabama. Poultry and beef cattle production are the two largest segments of that industry with Cullman County ranking at, or near, the top in both categories statewide. This should come as no surprise as both the poultry industry and the beef cattle industry often involve smaller sized, family farms that are focused on profitability.

Regional Forage and Livestock Extension Agent Gerry Thompson said, “Poultry production and beef cattle production are often mutually beneficial for a farming operation. One of the largest, and most valuable, by-products of poultry production is poultry ‘litter,’ which is a combination of chicken manure and the wood shavings that are used as bedding for the birds. In many industries, a by-product that is referred to as ‘litter’ would represent a significant environmental concern, but that is certainly not the case for poultry litter! Poultry litter is a fantastic fertilizer that can be readily used on pastures and hay fields and offers many benefits to farmers in our area. Poultry litter contains significant levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, all of which are needed for efficient forage production in pastures and hay fields. Poultry litter can also increase the levels of organic matter in pastures, which can increase the efficiency of nutrient use by forages and significantly decrease the amount of erosion in the areas where it is used, which can increase the overall quality of our water and health of our soils.”

Thompson further explained, “The mutually beneficial relationship between poultry and cattle production is just one example of how farmers are the original environmentalists. But like almost every other aspect of our lives, there are ways that poultry litter should be used to maximize its benefit to our farms and also minimize any potential adverse effects on our environment.”

 To help farmers learn more about responsible use of poultry litter while taking advantage of a valuable “recycled” material, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is offering an educational program about the “The Value of Using Poultry Litter for Pasture Fertilizer.” This meeting will be held at the North Alabama Agriplex (1714 Talley Ho St., Cullman) on Tuesday, Feb. 12 beginning at 6 p.m. The primary speaker for this class will be Dr. Rishi Prasad, nutrient management specialist at Auburn University. There is no cost to attend this meeting, but we do ask that you RSVP to the Cullman County Extension office by calling 256-737-9386 or emailing cullmancounty@auburn.edu  no later than Feb. 11 to help us plan appropriately.

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