Sunday, December 11, 2016
Litter composting can improve broiler performance.
Litter composting can improve broiler performance.Reusing poultry bedding, referred to as built-up litter, is a common practice in U.S. broiler houses and turkey finishing barns. Windrow composting techniques have been developed which, if properly implemented, can achieve several positive benefits. There are three primary reasons for windrow composting litter: 1)Conserve bedding/extend litter life. 2)Reduce on-farm waste storage capacity. 3)Reduce disease challenge and improve performance.Bud Malone, consultant, Malone Poultry Consulting said its unknown how many years broiler producers can go without a total house cleanout if windrow composting is properly done. Composting litter inside the poultry house between flocks reduces total litter volume and this, coupled with decreasing the frequency of total house cleanouts, reduces the amount of space required on the farm for litter storage. The potential big payback from windrow composting comes from improved bird health and performance. Malone cited research that shows windrow composting of poultry litter between flocks can reduce or eliminate E.coli, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Aspergilla, respiratory viruses, Clostridium perfringens and coccidia. Properly implemented windrow composting programs have been successful intervention strategies for dermatitis, necrotic enteritis, and runting and stunting syndrome. Windrow composting, when combined with timely insecticide treatment, has even been successful at reducing darkling beetle populations in poultry houses to near zero, he reported. Windrow composting, if done properly, can reduce disease challenge for the next flock, and it is proving to be a useful disease suppression strategy for reduced antibiotic growing programs, Malone said. But, windrow composting is not without cost. It requires a significant investment of time, and equipment is needed to make the windrows and turn them. When windrow composting is not done properly, Malone warned that the investment of time and equipment can be with minimal benefit. Also, he said before growers embark on a composting program, they need to have a strategy in place for controlling ammonia, like a litter amendment, before the next flock is brought into the house. In a windrow composting situations, poultry litter utilized as a soil amendment for growing fruits and vegetables will need to be composted reaching a temperature of at least 131F for at least 15 days and be turned a minimum of five times. Under normal circumstances, the downtime between flocks would not be long enough to allow for this process to be done inside the poultry house, so it would have to be done after the litter was removed from the house. watch