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B est
M anagement
P ractices

endorsed by
Introduction .......................... 3

Nutrient Management ........ 5 In Louisiana we are blessed with beautiful and

Pesticide Management ...... 14 abundant waters to enjoy fishing, hunting, boating or just
relaxing on the shore of a lake, river or bayou. Most of
Management of Poultry the water in Louisiana’s rivers and lakes comes from
Mortality .............................. 19 rainfall runoff. As this runoff travels across the soil sur-
face, it carries with it soil particles, organic matter and
General Farm BMPs .......... 29
nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Agricultural
activities contribute to the amount of these materials
entering streams, lakes, estuaries and groundwater. In
addition to assuring an abundant, affordable food supply,
Louisiana farmers must strive to protect the environ-
Research and educational programs on environ-
mental issues related to the use and management of
natural resources have always been an important part of
the LSU AgCenter’s mission. Working with representa-
tives from the agricultural commodity groups, the Natu-
ral Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Louisi-
ana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the
Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation (LFBF) and the Loui-
siana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF),
the LSU AgCenter has taken the lead in assembling a
group of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for each
agricultural commodity in Louisiana.
BMPs are used by agricultural producers to
control the generation or delivery of pollutants from
agricultural activities to water resources of the state,
thereby preventing degradation of surface and ground-


Poultry production is the References are made to

largest animal industry in Louisi- specific NRCS production codes
ana. It consists of a vertically that are explained in the text.
integrated broiler industry and a More detailed information about
commercial egg industry. The these practices can be found in
broiler industry is the largest in the NRCS Field Office Technical
both numbers and income. Most Guide (FOTG), which can be

commercial broiler production is found in all Soil and Water
in 10 of the northern parishes. Conservation District Offices, all
In poultry production, there NRCS field offices and on the
are issues of special concern to NRCS web page. Additionally,
the environment. Therefore, these under voluntary participation by
Best Management Practices the producer, technical assistance
(BMPs) focus on three main to develop and implement a
areas: Nutrient Management, farm-specific Conservation Plan
Pesticide Management and is available through the Conser-
Mortality Management. Each vation districts, NRCS field
area is discussed and the environ- offices and the LSU AgCenter
mental concerns associated with parish offices.
them identified. Possible alterna-

tive practices are introduced that,
when implemented, reduce the
impact of poultry production on
the environment.


The following additional
conservation practices apply
to poultry production.
The practices and the NRCS
production codes are listed.

Filter Strips Grassed Waterways

(NRCS Code 393) (NRCS Code 412)
These are strips or areas of These are natural or con-
vegetation for removing sedi- structed channels that are shaped
ment and other pollutants from or graded to required dimensions
runoff. Areas are on the lower and established in suitable
edge of fields or above conser- vegetation for the stable convey-
vation practices such as terraces ance of runoff. They are designed
or diversions or on fields adja- to convey runoff without causing
cent to streams, ponds and erosion or flooding and to im-
lakes. prove water quality.
These production practices
are not covered in detail in this
Field Borders publication, but they are impor-
(NRCS Code 386) tant in poultry operations. For
These are strips of peren- more information on these
nial vegetation established at practices and how to implement
the edge of fields. They control them, contact your local NRCS
erosion and protect edges of or Conservation District Office.
fields that are used as
“turnrows” or travel lanes for
farm machinery.



Management in Surface Water
A sound soil fertility pro- Nitrogen soil water and readily available
gram is the foundation upon for plant uptake. The ammonium
which a profitable farming Nitrogen (N) is a part of all form is attracted to and held by
business must be built. Agricul- plant and animal proteins. There- soil particles, so it does not
tural fertilizers are a necessity for fore, human survival depends on readily leach through the soil
producing abundant, high quality an abundant supply of N in with rainfall or irrigation water.
food, feed and fiber crops. Using nature. Approximately 80 percent Nitrates, on the other hand, are
fertilizer nutrients in the proper of the atmosphere is nitrogen not attached to soil particles and
amounts and applying them gas. Most plants cannot use this do move downward with soil
correctly are both economically form of nitrogen, however, and water and can be leached into
and environmentally important to supplemental nitrogen must be groundwater or run off into
the long-term profitability and supplied through the soil. A crop surface waters.
sustainability of crop production. well supplied with N can pro-
Excessive nitrate concentra-
The fertilizer nutrients that have duce substantially higher yields,
tions in water can accelerate
potential to become groundwater on the same amount of water,
algae and plant growth in

or surface water pollutants are than one deficient for N. Further-
streams and lakes, resulting in
nitrogen and phosphorus. In more, properly fertilized crops
oxygen depletion. Nitrate con-
general, other commonly used use both N and water more
centrations above a certain level
fertilizer nutrients do not cause efficiently, thus improving
in drinking water may be hazard-
concern as pollutants. environmental quality and profit-
ous to the health of some ani-
Because erosion and runoff mals or human infants.
are the two major ways nonpoint- Supplemental N is neces-
source pollutants move into sary on almost all non-legume Phosphorus
surface water resources, practices crops in Louisiana for maximum Phosphorus (P), like nitro-
that reduce erosion or runoff are profits. Producers should follow gen, is essential for plant growth.
considered Best Management N recommendations based on Naturally occurring P exists in a
Practices (BMPs). Similarly, Louisiana research. These recom- phosphate form either as soluble
practices that limit the buildup of mendations take into account inorganic phosphate, soluble
nutrients in the soil, which can maximum economic yield poten- phosphate, particulate phosphate
leach to groundwater or be tials, crop variety, soil texture or mineral phosphate. The min-

picked up in runoff, and practices and area of the state. Nitrogen eral forms of phosphorus (cal-
that ensure the safe use of agri- recommendations from the LSU cium, iron and aluminum phos-
cultural chemicals also are AgCenter are usually ample to phates) are low in solubility. The
considered BMPs. In general, provide optimum economic amount of these elements (cal-
soil conservation and water yields. cium, iron and aluminum)
quality protection are mutually Decomposition of organic present in reactive forms varies
beneficial; therefore the BMPs matter results in simpler inor- with different soils and soil
described here are the best means ganic N forms such as ammo- conditions.
of reducing agricultural nonpoint nium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-).
source pollution resulting from These forms of N are soluble in
fertilizer nutrients.
The immediate source of phosphorus for plants is
that which is dissolved in the soil solution. Phosphate is
absorbed from the soil solution and used by plants. A
soil solution containing only a few parts per million of
phosphate is usually considered adequate for plant
growth. Phosphate used by plants is replaced in the soil
solution by soil minerals, soil organic matter decompo-
sition or applied fertilizers.
Phosphate is not readily soluble. Most of the ions
are either used by living plants or adsorbed to sediment,
so the potential of their leaching to groundwater is low.
That portion of phosphate bound to sediment particles Algae bloom
is virtually unavailable to living organisms, but it becomes available
as it detaches from sediment. Only a small part of the phosphate
moved with sediment into surface water is immediately available to
aquatic organisms. Additional phosphate can become available
slowly through biochemical reactions, however. The slow release of
large amounts of phosphate from sediment layers in lakes and
streams could cause excessive algae blooms and excessive growth of
plants, thereby affecting water quality.
Nutrients will be used to obtain optimum crop yields while
minimizing the movement of nutrients to surface and groundwater
(NRCS Production Code 590). A nutrient management plan should
be developed for the proposed crop by using soil analyses from
approved laboratories.

Nutrient Application Rates

Nutrient application rates will be based on the results of a soil
analysis.You should select only those materials recommended for use
by qualified individuals from the Louisiana Cooperative Extension
Service, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, certified crop
advisors, and certified agricultural consultants and/or published LSU
AgCenter data.
Soil testing is the foundation of a sound nutrient manage-
ment program. A soil test is a series of chemical analyses that
determine the levels of essential plant nutrients in the soil. When not
taken up by a crop, some nutrients, particularly nitrogen, can be lost
from the soil by leaching, runoff or mineralization. Others, like
phosphorus, react with soil minerals over time to form compounds
that are not available for uptake by plants. Soil testing can be used to
estimate how much loss has occurred and to predict which nutrient(s)
and how much of that nutrient(s) should be added to the soil to
produce a particular crop and yield. Soil tests should be taken at
least every three years or at the beginning of a different cropping


Recommended Practices
1. Test soil for nutrient 4. Time nitrogen 8. Use legumes where
status and pH to: applications to: adapted to:
• determine the amounts of • correspond closely with • replace part or all of crop
additional nutrients needed to crop uptake patterns needs for commercial N fertilizer
reach designated yield goals and • increase nutrient use • reduce erosion and nutri-
the amount of lime needed to efficiency ent losses
correct soil acidity problems;
• minimize leaching and • maintain residue cover on
• optimize farm income by runoff losses the soil surface
avoiding excessive fertilization
and reducing nutrient losses by
leaching and runoff; 5. Inject fertilizers or 9. Control nutrient
• identify other yield- incorporate surface losses in erosion and
limiting factors such as high applications when runoff by:
levels of salts or sodium that may possible to: • using appropriate struc-
affect soil structure, infiltration • increase accessibility of tural controls
rates, surface runoff and, ulti- fertilizer nutrients to plant roots • adopting conservation
mately, groundwater quality.
• reduce volatilization losses tillage practices where appropri-
of ammonia N sources ate
2. Base fertilizer • reduce nutrient losses from • properly managing crop
applications on: erosion and runoff residues
• soil test results • land leveling
• realistic yield goals and • implementing other soil
6. Use animal manures
moisture prospects and water conservation practices
and organic materials:
• crop nutrient requirements where possible
• when available and eco-
• past fertilization practices nomically feasible • using filter strips
• previous cropping history • to improve soil tilth, water-
holding capacity and soil struc- 10. Skillfully handle and
3. Manage low soil pH apply fertilizer by:
• to recycle nutrients and • properly calibrating and
by liming according to reduce the need for commercial maintaining application equip-
the soil test to: inorganic fertilizers ment
• reduce soil acidity
• properly cleaning equip-
• improve fertilizer use ment and disposing of excess
efficiency 7. Rotate crops when
fertilizers, containers and wash
feasible to:
• improve decomposition of water
• improve total nutrient
crop residues • storing fertilizers in a safe
recovery with different crop
• enhance the effectiveness rooting patterns place
of certain soil-applied herbicides.
• reduce erosion and runoff
• reduce diseases, insects
and weeds


Comprehensive Nutrient
Management Plans
Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are encouraging a voluntary
approach to handling nonpoint source pollution issues related to
is one that is matched to the
animal agriculture. The implementation of Comprehensive Nutrient
farming operation and the needs
Management Plans (CNMP) by all poultry producers will ensure that
of the person implementing it.
the nutrient value of the poultry litter is managed in an environmen-
tally friendly fashion by either (1) properly using litter on the land
based on its nutrient value or (2) transferring the litter to an alterna-
tive use program.
The Parts of a
Poultry litter is an excellent source of organic nutrients that can CNMP
be incorporated into most farming operations when properly man- A CNMP takes into account
aged. For poultry producers, the proper management of litter is a how nutrients are used and
major consideration in their daily operations. Whether the material is managed throughout the farm. It
used as a nutrient source on land controlled by the producer, provided is more than a nutrient manage-
as a nutrient source on other lands or is offered as a material in an ment plan that looks only at
alternative use process, the proper management of the litter is essen- nutrient supply and needs for a
tial. Storage, transportation, application, disease prevention and particular field. Nutrients are
proper documentation are just a few items that need to be factored brought to the farm through
into the litter/manure management decision-making process. feeds, fertilizers, animal manures
and other off-farm inputs. These
inputs are used, and some are
Developing a Comprehensive Nutrient recycled, by plants and animals
Management Plan on the farm. Nutrients then leave
the farm in harvested crops and
A CNMP is a strategy for using plant nutrients wisely to en- animal products. These are
hance farm profits while protecting water resources. It is a plan that nutrient removals. Ideally, the
looks at every part of your farming operation and helps you make the amount of nutrient inputs and
best use of manures, fertilizers and other nutrient sources. Successful removals should be roughly the
nutrient management requires thorough planning and recognizes that same. But, when nutrient inputs
every farm is to the farm greatly exceed nutri-
different. The type ent removals from the farm, the
of farming you do risk of nutrient losses to ground-
and the specifics of water and surface water is
your operation will greater. When you check nutrient
affect your CNMP. inputs against nutrient removals,
For example, you are creating a mass balance.
CNMPs on farms This nutrient mass balance is
that do not have an important part of a CNMP
animals will not and important to understand
require as much for your individual farming
detail as those that operation.
Filter strip do. The best CNMP
BMPs are also very important to a successful CNMP. BMPs, complaints, you may want to
such as soil testing and manure analysis, help you select the right limit the use of manures near
nutrient rate and application strategy so that crops use nutrients these types of areas.
efficiently. This not only reduces nutrient losses and protects the
Soil Testing
environment, but it also increases farm profitability. BMPs may
Complete and accurate soil
include managing the farm to reduce soil erosion and improve soil
tests are important for a
tilth through conservation tillage, planting cover crops to use excess
successful nutrient management
nutrients, or using filter strips and buffers to protect water quality.
plan. You will need soil tests at
Preventive maintenance, record keeping, mortality management and
least every three years to
emergency response plans also must be included in a CNMP for
livestock and poultry operations.
how much
The Basic Steps addition is
CNMPs consist of six major parts: evaluation of nutrient needed. The
needs, inventory of nutrient supply, determination of nutrient needed
balance, mortality management, preventive maintenance and nutrients can be supplied from
inspection, and an emergency response plan. commercial fertilizer and/or
organic sources. Be sure to take
representative soil samples and
Evaluation of Nutrient Needs have them tested by a reputable
Maps and Field Information laboratory familiar with
You will need a detailed map of your farm. The map should Louisiana soils and crop
include: production. Your county agent
farm property lines can help you submit samples to
your fields with the field identification the LSU Soil Testing Laboratory.
the location of all surface waters such as streams, rivers, ponds
or lakes Determine Nutrients
direction of surface flows Needed for Each Field
arrows showing the direction that streams or rivers flow Once you have set realistic
a soils map, if available yield goals and you have your
This map will serve as the basis for the entire plan, so each field soil test results, you can deter-
should have a unique identification. In addition to the map, prepare a mine the nutrients your crops
list of the crops to be grown in each field with a realistic yield goal will need. The amount of nutri-
for each crop. Most of this information is available at your local ents needed should be based on
USDA Farm Service Center. your local growing conditions.
At a minimum, the
Locate Critical Areas amounts of lime,
Certain areas on your farm such nitrogen, phospho-
as streams and rivers, wellheads, rus and potas-
lakes or ponds are sensitive to nutri- sium should be
ent overload. You should create listed in the
buffer zones around these areas on plan for each
your map where nutrient use will be field. Most
reduced or eliminated. By buffering soil and plant
these areas, you can reduce water analysis labs will give you
quality problems. Areas such as recommended application rates
roads, off-site dwellings and areas of based on the soil test results.
public gatherings should also be Your county agent can help you
noted on your map. To reduce odor with this.


Inventory of Nutrient Supply Can the Nutrient Supply
on Your Farm Be
Many of the nutrients needed to grow your crops are already
present on your farm in the soil, in animal manures or in crop resi- Managed or Changed?
dues. Knowing the amounts of nutrients already present in these After evaluation of the
sources is important so that you do not buy or apply more nutrients nutrient supply on your farm and
than needed. the nutrient needs of your crops,
you may find that the balance of
nutrients is not ideal. You may
Determine the Quantity of Nutrients Available have more of one or more nutri-
on Your Farm ents (usually phosphorus) than
Supply planning starts with an inventory of the nutrients pro- you need. Many management
duced on the farm. Animal manure is an important source of nutri- practices can change the nutrient
ents. The quantity of manure collected and stored, either dry or balance. These include:
liquid, should be determined. An inventory should be performed of changes in storage practices
any other by-products available, such as mortality compost, lagoon
sludge (if lagoon cleaning is planned), crop residue nutrients or adjustments of animal feeds
nitrogen from legumes. This information will allow you to balance modification of treatment
your nutrient purchases with what is available on your farm for the methods
realistic production potential of your crops. chemical amendments
For example, you may be
Nutrient Analysis able to reduce nutrient losses in
Animal manure and other organic products are not all the same your manure treatment and/or
as far as nutrient content is concerned. A nutrient analysis of these storage system. Sometimes
products tells you their nutrient content so you can match this with reducing nitrogen losses can
soil test recommendations and determine application rates. The lab make manures a better-balanced
results will help you determine how much of the nutrients in the fertilizer for your crops. In
manure will be available to your crops. The amount credited to the addition, animal diets can some-
nutrient budget should be based on plant available nutrient levels, times be changed to reduce
which may be substantially different from the total nutrient content. nutrient excretion in their ma-
Your parish Extension office has information on manure and litter nure. Enzymes can be added to
testing. the animal’s diet to reduce
nutrients in the manure. Phytase
is a supplemental enzyme that
Determining Nutrient Balance allows better use of the phospho-
rus already present in grains, so
Balance Between Supply and Need less phosphorus has to be added
Once you have determined both the supply and need of nutrients to the animal’s diet.
for each of your fields, a critical aspect of CNMPs is balancing the
two. This can be done in several ways. Most CNMPs are developed
based on nitrogen, but other factors such as phosphorus or metals
could control how much poultry litter or manure you can put out
under certain conditions. A phosphorus index is being developed to
help producers determine when nutrient management based on
phosphorus is advisable. If your crop acreage is small in relation to
the number of animals produced, the nutrient balance will allow you
to evaluate how much manure or litter you may need to move off
your farm to avoid over-application of nutrients.


Manure Storage
Manure storage is critical
since it affects both the quantity
and quality of nutrients that will
need to be land applied or ex-
ported from the farm. The stor-
age structures and design capaci-
ties need to be identified as part
of a CNMP. These structures also
need to be managed to prevent
nutrient losses and to protect
water quality.
At the time a litter/manure permanent structures should be designed in accordance with
clean-out operation is conducted, the USDA NRCS guidelines or the equivalent
the litter/manure is often required temporary storage should be covered with plastic or similar
to be placed in storage. Although material to prevent runoff
litter storage does present an
Litter stored for three months or longer should be kept in a
additional expense, it is a useful
permanent storage facility. Litter that is used in a land application
tool in a comprehensive Litter/
program and is applied directly from a poultry production house
Manure Management Plan.
during a clean-out operation does not need a storage facility but
Litter/manure storage facilities
should be handled in an environmentally sound manner.
can be divided into two basic
categories, temporary structures
and permanent structures. It is Manure Application to Fields
desirable to have a permanent
structure for litter/manure stor- Land application is the most common, and usually the most
age. desirable, method of using manure because of the value of the nutri-
ents and organic matter. Basic requirements of the manure manage-
Whether the structure is ment plan to ensure that material applied on the land does not cause
temporary or permanent, the pollution include (1) calculations to determine the proper amount of
siting of the facility is important. manure to be applied to meet, but not exceed, crop nutrient needs and
The following general guidelines (2) land management practices to prevent runoff and erosion of
should be implemented in siting material applied to crop or pasture lands.
and construction of a litter
storage facility: Manures should be applied near the time when crops need
nutrients by using calibrated spreaders or irrigation equipment. Solid
easy access and terrain
that keeps site grading to a
a 100-foot buffer strip
should be maintained from wet
areas, drainage ditches, streams,
rivers, ponds, lakes or other
surface water bodies
permanent structures
should have a base or floor of
concrete or impermeable clay


or slurry manure should be Proper land management field are captured before they
incorporated into the soil when following manure application can reach a stream or lake.
appropriate. Incorporation or reduce runoff and loss of nutri- Poultry producers should
mixing into the soil greatly ents to overland flow. Conserva- keep records of the amount of
reduces losses of nitrogen to the tion practices that should be manure removed from poultry
air and keeps more in the soil included as part of a land appli- houses, when the manure was
where it is needed. This also cation plan are conservation removed and how it was used;
reduces potential odor emissions. tillage, grazing management, the amount stored, the dates of
Some nutrients applied in buffers and other practices that storage and how it was used; and,
excess of crop needs can accu- will prevent runoff, erosion and when applied to fields under the
mulate in the soil and, at certain the washing of organic matter producer’s control, the amount
levels, may cause water pollu- and nutrients from fields. Taken applied to each field, its nutrient
tion. High soil phosphorus levels together with nutrient manage- content and the date of applica-
have been linked to negative ment, these practices will help to tion. The amount of manure
water quality impacts. On such ensure that the right amounts of transported to others should be
fields, application of manure may nutrients are applied to the field, recorded along with the date,
need to be reduced or stopped to that the nutrients stay on the field amount and person receiving the
remove excess phosphorus from and that any potential pollutants manure.
the soils through crop uptake. that might be washed from the

Identify Alternative Uses for Excess Manures A complete CNMP should
identify how livestock or poultry
If your manure production
mortalities will be managed. This
exceeds on-farm nutrient needs,
should include:
you should identify alternatives
to land application of your estimated amounts of
manure. Potential options in- normal mortality
clude selling manures to other methods of disposal or use
farmers, composting manures for
plans for dealing with
use by homeowners or possibly
catastrophic mortality events
selling it to other off-farm users.
The Louisiana Department
When transporting litter/
of Agriculture and Forestry
manure to an alternative use
Livestock Sanitary Board regu-
location, to a land application
lates mortality disposal; all plans
site or to any other location using public roads, trucks or other
should meet its requirements.
vehicles shall be covered and/or be contained well enough to
Approved methods of disposal
prevent loss of
are discussed in the Mortality
Management section of this


Preventive Emergency Response
Maintenance and Plans
Inspections The final aspect of your
plan should include the proce-
Keeping good, detailed
dures to be followed in an emer-
records that help you monitor
gency. This should include
your progress are essential to
actions taken to contain or
determine if your CNMP is
manage any unauthorized dis-
accomplishing your goals. You
charge of manure or wastewater,
should keep all results from soil,
a list of the proper authorities to
plant and manure tests and
notify when certain events occur
examine how they change with
and any authorizations necessary
time because of your manage-
to obtain essential equipment or
ment practices. Also, keep
access to neighboring properties
records on crop yields, manure
during these events. It should
production, manure exports,
also outline a plan for training
nutrient application rates, timing
new employees in these proce-
and application methods. Keep
detailed schedules and records on
calibration of spraying and
spreading equipment, mainte- Where Can You Obtain
nance of pumps and other ma-
chinery, and inspections and Information Needed for Your
current capacities on manure CNMP?
storage facilities. When you have
a major change in production, The LSU AgCenter, the USDA Natural
update your plan to reflect these Resources Conservation Service, the Louisiana
changes. Department of Agriculture and Forestry,
certified crop advisors or other private consult-
ants can help you in developing parts of a
comprehensive nutrient management plan.
A CNMP is a good tool to help you use
on- and off-farm resources more efficiently
and to prevent future problems. A successful
CNMP will help you obtain the maximum
profit while protecting the environment.


Introduction Rain or irrigation
starts pesticides
moving into and
To preserve the availability through soil. Soil-incorporated
of clean and environmentally Pesticide is taken up
systemic pesticide
safe water in Louisiana, contami- by plants, broken
down by organisms,
nation of surface and ground- sunlight or chemical
water by all agricultural and reactions.
industrial chemicals must be Pesticide is carried
prevented. Some sources of Rainfall runoff into and through
soil. Movement
contamination are easily recog- will also move
pesticides across through soil is
nizable from a single, specific the soil surface. affected by soil and
pesticide properties
location. Other sources are more and amount and
difficult to pinpoint. Nonpoint timing of water.
Pesticide residue
source pollution of water with and by-products
pesticides is caused by rainfall Pesticides can directly enter not absorbed are
groundwater by spills around poorly broken down into
runoff, particle drift or percola- constructed or sealed wells, or wells the groundwater.
tion of water through the soil. with improper casting, or by back-
Pest management practices will siphoning during spray tank filling.
be based on current research and WATER TABLE Movement with
extension recommendations. By groundwater –
using these recommendations, breakdown
you will follow environmentally Groundwater flow
generally slowed,
but depends on
sound guidelines for using chemical nature
pesticides. and groundwater.

Pest Management Procedures


Pesticides will be applied All label statements and

only when they are necessary for use directions designed specifi-
the protection of the crop. The cally to protect groundwater will
pesticide will be chosen follow- be closely followed.
ing guidelines to assure that the Specific Best Manage-
one chosen will give the most ment Practices designed to
effective pest control with the protect surface water will be
least potential adverse effects on closely followed.
the environment.
Erosion control practices
Water quality, both surface (such as pipe drops, etc.) will be
and ground, will be protected by used to minimize runoff that
following all of the label recom- could carry soil particles with
mendations and guidelines adsorbed pesticides and/or
dealing with water quality. dissolved pesticides into surface


Pesticide The following practices will
be followed:

Application Select the pesticide to give

the best results with the least
potential environmental impact
Management practices such outside the spray area.
as the pesticide selected, the
application method, the pesticide Application equipment will
rate used and the application be selected with care and carefully
timing influence pesticide move- maintained.
ment. Pesticides should be The application equipment
applied only when needed to will be carefully calibrated at the
prevent economic loss of a crop. beginning of the spray season and
In pesticide application, periodically thereafter. Spray ac-
“the label is the law.” Using cording to recommendations.
chemicals at rates higher than Spray drift will be minimized by following the label in-
specified by the label is ILLE- structions and all rules and regulations developed to minimize
GAL as well as an environmental spray drift (the physical movement of spray particles at the time of
hazard because more pesticide is or shortly after application).
exposed to erosion, runoff or Before a pesticide application is made, an assessment will
leaching. Poor timing of a pesti- be made of all of the environmental factors in-
cide application also can result in volved in all of the area surrounding the applica-
pesticide movement into water tion site.
sources, as well as give little
control of the targeted pest. Records will be carefully maintained of
all pesticide applications, not just a record of
Certain areas on your farm Restricted Use Pesticides.
such as streams and rivers,
wellheads, lakes or ponds are
sensitive to pesticides. You
should create buffer zones
around these areas where pesti-
cide use will be reduced or
eliminated. By buffering these


areas, you can reduce water
quality problems. Areas such as
roads, off-site dwellings and Pesticide Selection
areas of public gatherings should
When selecting pesticides, farmers should consider
be identified. You may want to
chemical solubility, adsorption, volatility and degradation
limit the use of pesticides near
characteristics. Chemicals that dissolve in water readily can
these types of areas.
leach through soil to groundwater or be carried to surface
The water table
separates the
waters in rainfall or irrigation runoff. Some chemicals hold
unsaturated zone tightly to, or are adsorbed on, soil particles and do not leach as
from the saturated
zone (groundwater)
much. But even these chemicals can move with sediment when
soil erodes during heavy rainfall. Runoff entering surface
Rainfall runoff
waters may ultimately recharge groundwater reserves. Chemi-
Unsaturated zone cals that are bound to soil particles and organic matter are
subject to the forces of leaching, erosion or runoff over a
WATER TABLE longer period, thus increasing the potential for water pollution.
Saturated zone
The following practices will be followed: Exceptions for
Selection will be based upon recommendations by qualified
consultants, crop advisors and on the published recommendations of
the LSU AgCenter. Farmers disposing of used
The selection of the pesticide to be used will be based upon its pesticide
registered uses and its ability to give the quality of pest control containers for
required. their own use
are not required
The selection will also be based upon its impact on to comply with
beneficials, other non-target organisms and on the general environ- the require-
ment. ments of the

Pesticide Storage and waste regulations provided that

they triple rinse or pressure wash
each container and dispose of the
Safety residues on their own farms in a
manner consistent with the
Pesticide disposal in-
storage shed
structions on
the pesticide
label. Note that
Farmers and commercial into the environment. Pesticides disposal of
pesticide applicators are subject should not be stored in an area pesticide
to penalties if they fail to store or susceptible to flooding or where residues into
dispose of pesticides and pesti- the characteristics of the soil at water or where
cide containers properly. Each the site would allow escaped they are likely
registered pesticide product, chemicals to percolate into to reach surface or groundwater
whether general or restricted use, groundwater. Storage facilities may be considered a source of
contains instructions about should be dry and well venti- pollution under the Clean Water
storage and disposal in its label- lated, and they should be pro- Act or the Safe Drinking Water
ing. The Louisiana Pesticide Law vided with fire protection equip- Act and therefore is illegal.
addresses specific requirements ment. All stored pesticides After the triple rinse proce-
for storage and disposal. The should be carefully labeled and dure, the containers are then
applicator must follow these segregated and stored off of the

“empty” and the farmer can

requirements carefully and ground. Pesticides should not be discard them in a sanitary waste
ensure that employees follow stored in the same area as animal site without further regard to the
them as well. feed. The facility should be kept hazardous waste regulations. The
The recommended proce- locked when not in use. Further empty containers are still subject
dures do not apply to the disposal precautions include appropriate to any disposal instructions
of single containers of pesticides warning signs and regular in- contained within the labeling of
registered for use in the home spection of containers for corro- the product, however. Disposal in
and garden. These containers sion or leakage. Protective a manner “inconsistent with the
may be disposed of during clothing should be stored close labeling instructions” is a viola-
municipal waste collection if by but not in the same room as tion of EPA guidelines and could
wrapped according to recommen- the pesticides because they may lead to contamination of water,
dations. become contaminated. Decon- soil or persons and legal liability.
tamination equipment should be
Storage sites should be present where highly toxic
chosen carefully to minimize the pesticides are stored.
chance of pesticides escaping
Emergency Planning Farms that use pesticides may be “facilities” subject to the
notification requirements of the law. Notification is also required for
and Community emergency releases of hazardous chemicals. Proper application of
Right-to-Know pesticides is not covered under this law. The community right-to-
know provisions of the act require that material safety data sheets
required under OSHA, as well as documents showing the location
and amount of chemicals present at the facility (if the quantity ex-
ceeds the “reportable quantity”), be provided to the state and local
emergency planning bodies and to the local fire department.

Agricultural Chemicals and Worker Safety

The EPA has general author- handlers that must be followed. The
ity to regulate pesticide use in The regulations include stan-
order to minimize risks to human dards requiring oral warnings Occupational
health and to the environment. and posting of areas where Safety and
This author- pesticides have been used,
ity extends to training for Health Act
the protec- all handlers (OSHA)
tion of farm and early re-
The federal govern-
workers entry work-
ment also regulates farm
exposed to ers, personal
employee safety under the
pesticides. All employers must protective
Occupational Safety and
comply with ALL instructions of equipment,
Health Act (OSHA). OSHA
the Worker Protection Standard emergency transportation and
applies to all persons
concerning worker safety or be decontamination equipment.
(employers) engaged in
subject to penalties. Labels may The EPA regulations hold business affecting interstate
include, for example, instructions the producer of the agricultural commerce. The federal
requiring the wearing of protec- plant on a farm, forest, nursery or courts have decided that all
tive clothing, handling instruc- greenhouse ultimately respon- farming and ranching
tions and instructions setting a sible for compliance with the operations affect interstate
period of worker safety standards. This


commerce in some respect,
time before means the landowner must regardless of where goods
workers are ensure compliance by all em- are produced, sold or
allowed to re- ployees and by all independent consumed, and thus are
enter fields contractors working on the subject to OSHA’s require-
after the property. Contractors and em- ments. In general, every
application ployees also may be held respon- employer has a duty to
of pesticides (Restricted Entry sible for failure to follow the provide employees with an
Interval). regulations. environment free from
Employers should read the hazards that cause or are
Worker Protection Standard likely to cause death or
regulations governing the use of serious injury.
and exposure to pesticides. The
regulations set forth minimum
standards for the protection of
farm workers and pesticide


In summary: without unnecessary debris. This
enclosure will be at least 150 feet
crevices, on a flat surface; any
pesticides remaining in the opened
A. All label directions will be away and down slope from any container will be transferred into the
read, understood and followed. water wells. spray mix. After this procedure, the
B. The Louisiana Department E. All uncontained pesticide containers will be disposed of in a
of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) spills of more than one gallon liquid sanitary landfill.
is responsible for the certification of or four pounds dry weight will be H. Application equipment will
pesticide applicators. All pesticide reported to the director of Pesticide be triple rinsed and the rinsate
applicators in Louisiana must and Environmental Programs, applied to the original application
successfully complete a certification Louisiana Department of Agriculture site or stored for later use to dilute a
test administered by the LDAF. The and Forestry, within 24 hours by spray solution.
LSU AgCenter conducts training telephone (225-925-3763) and by I. Mix/load or wash pads
sessions and publishes study guides written notice within three days. (NRCS production code Interim)
in various categories covered by the Spills on public roadways will be will be located at least 150 feet away
test. Contact your county agent for reported to the Louisiana Depart- and down slope from any water
dates and times. ment of Transportation and Develop- wells and away from surface water
C. All requirements of the ment. Spills into navigable waters sources such as ponds, streams, etc.
Worker Protection Standard (WPS) will be reported to DEQ, Coast
will be followed, including, but not Guard, USEPA.
limited, to: F. Empty metal, glass or
• Notifying workers of a plastic pesticide containers will be
pesticide application (either oral or either triple rinsed or pressure
posting of the field), abiding by the washed, and the rinsate will be
restricted entry interval (REI). added to the spray solution to dilute
the solution at the time or stored
• Maintaining a central according to the LDAF rules to be
notification area containing the used later. Rinsed pesticide contain-
Wash pad with collection pond

safety poster; the name, address and ers will be punctured, crushed or
telephone number of the nearest The pads will be constructed of an
otherwise rendered unusable and impervious material, and there will
emergency medical facility; and a disposed of in a sanitary landfill.
list of the pesticide applications be a system for collecting and/or
(Plastic containers may be taken to storing the runoff.
made within the last 30 days that specific pesticide container recycling
have an REI. events. Contact your county agent J. Empty containers will not
• Maintaining a decontami- for dates and locations in your area.) be kept for more than 90 days after
nation site for workers and han- the end of the spray season.
G. All pesticides will be
dlers. removed from paper and plastic bags K. Air gaps will be maintained

• Furnishing the appropriate to the fullest extent possible. The while filling the spray tank to
personal protective equipment sides of the container will be cut and prevent back-siphoning.
(PPE) to all handlers and early opened fully, without folds or
entry workers and ensuring that they
understand how and why they
Air gap
should use it.
• Assuring that all employ- This...
ees required to be trained under the backflow
Worker Protection Standard have ...Not This
undergone the required training. chemicals siphoned
back into water supply
D. Pesticides will be stored in
a secure, locked enclosure and in a
container free of leaks, abiding by
any specific recommendations on the
label. The storage area must be
maintained in good condition,


Commercial poultry producers
shall be required to dispose of
dead poultry by one of the
following methods:

The design, construction
and use of compost units must be
approved by an authorized
representative of the Livestock
Sanitary Board. Design criteria
for composting structures shall
Dead broilers, from normal mortality alone, result in more than meet or exceed standards and
200,000 pounds of carcasses to be disposed of weekly. A satisfactory specifications for composting
system for disposal of dead birds and farm animals is necessary for structures contained in the USDA
sanitation, disease and odor prevention, and for environmental pro- Natural Resources Conservation
tection. Moreover, the Louisiana Livestock Sanitary Board requires Service (NRCS) Field Office
that poultry producers have an approved method for disposing of Technical Guide (FOTG).
dead birds. Poultry carcasses cannot be legally fed to hogs or alliga- Composting of dead poultry and
tors in Louisiana unless they are first cooked or rendered. A com- litter will be completed in accor-
plaint to the Livestock Sanitary Board, the Department of Health and dance with management prac-
Hospitals (DHH) or the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) tices contained in the FOTG.
concerning non-compliance with these regulations will result in an Incinerators
inspection by the enforcement staff and possible fines and/or penal- Incinerators shall be con-
ties. structed in a manner and design
capable of providing a method of
disposal of dead poultry that
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry prevents the spread of diseases.
(LDAF) regulations, specifically LAC 7:11771, state that
dead poultry shall be disposed in the following manner:

All commercial poultry producers are required to obtain a

certification of approval for disposing of dead poultry from the State
Veterinarian’s Office, LDAF. Failure to obtain a certificate shall be
considered a violation of the regulation. Certificates of approval are
continuous, but subject to review and cancellation should the poultry
producer fail to dispose of dead poultry in accordance with the
regulation. The LDAF will be responsible for follow-up to ensure that
all conditions and requirements are met.

Dead poultry must be removed from the presence of the live

poultry without delay. The carcasses, parts of carcasses and offal must
be held in covered containment until disposal is made by one of the
approved methods. In no instance, however, will the storage of dead
poultry be allowed to create sanitary problems.


The design and construction must be approved by an authorized
representative of the Livestock Sanitary Board and shall meet state
and federal air emission standards. Incinerators are subject to
LAC33:III.2521 and LAC33:III.2531 discharge regulations. An air From a management stand-
emission permit is required from DEQ for all incinerators. Prior to point, the disposal method needs
placing an incinerator into operation or using an existing incinerator, to meet several criteria. It should
a permit must be on file with DEQ Permit Division. For questions be convenient, sanitary, economi-
about permitting of incinerators, contact Dick Lehr (225) 765-2723 cal, practical, legal and socially
or Annette Sharp (225) 765-0288 with the DEQ Small Business acceptable. Place tightly covered
Assistance Program. containers for carcass accumula-
tion at the entrance of each
Rendering Plant production house. Dead animals
Dead poultry, parts of carcasses and poultry offal may be trans- and birds should be removed
ported in covered containers to approved rendering plants. Poultry from production facilities at least
carcasses may be held on the premises of commercial poultry produc- once each day, preferably more
ers as long as the storage does not create a sanitary problem. All such frequently, especially when
methods of storage, modes of transportation and location of render- disease conditions are present
ing plants shall be submitted to and approved by an authorized and/or temperatures are high.
representative of the Livestock Sanitary Board. Empty these containers into
Digesters disposal facilities at least every
Poultry digesters may be used if the following conditions are 24 hours to prevent dead birds
met: from becoming a problem.
A. The design, construction, location and use of digesters must Improper methods of dis-
be approved by an authorized representative of the Livestock Sanitary posal include dumping carcasses
Board. in the woods, in a creek or
feeding them to other livestock
B. The bacteria being used in the digester must be approved by
on the farm. These unacceptable
an authorized representative of the Livestock Sanitary Board.
practices cannot be permitted and
C. The digester must be maintained according to recommenda- are illegal.
tions of an authorized representative of the Livestock Sanitary Board.
Modern farm businessmen
For more information about the disposal of dead poultry, recognize the importance of
contact the LDAF’s Livestock Sanitary Board. having a sanitary means for
disposal of dead birds and ani-
mals. They know that convenient,
sanitary and fast disposal is
imperative if they are to prevent
diseases from spreading. Good
waste management practices are
essential if the poultry industry is
to grow and thrive under today’s
environmental conditions.
Properly used poultry wastes are
a resource with minimal environ-
mental effects. Improperly
handled or used poultry wastes
can degrade the environment,
spread diseases and damage the
favorable image developed by
poultry producers.


Incineration When properly adjusted and
operated, cost of incineration
Incineration of will vary with weight, moisture
dead birds and content, loading density and fat
animals may be the content. It is important not to
quickest and most overload the incinerator,
sanitary method of because this will lead to
disposal. Wastes can incomplete incineration of the
be disposed of as fast carcasses. An incinerator can be
as they accumulate, expected to last from five to
and the resulting seven years.
stabilized residue
does not attract
scavengers or insects. Commercial units are available with oil or gas
burners and are usually equipped with automatic timers. Barrels, Growers who live near a
stoves or homemade incinerators seldom meet air pollution control rendering plant could use this
standards. method. There are only a few
Incineration may be a problem with larger animals, depending rendering plants in Louisiana,
on the size and availability of DEQ-approved incinerators. and they are not generally
available to growers. Some out-
Management recommendations include: of-state firms also pick up
1. Purchase only approved incinerators. carcasses for rendering. Render-
2. Locate incinerators downwind from poultry houses and populated ing cost is estimated to be from
areas. 3.5 to 5.0 cents per pound.
3. Remove ashes before each firing to assure proper performance, Assuming the plant is reason-
reduce maintenance and maximize incinerator life. ably close, this method may be
4. Clean grates, check burner jets and adjust the timer regularly to the most cost-effective. Besides
get a complete burn. the cost of fuel for delivery,
5. Protect the unit from the weather when not in use, if mobile, or there is a risk of picking up
construct a simple open metal structure to extend its life. disease organisms on the vehicle
6. Maintain a distance of at least 4 feet or provide heat protection at or near the plant and trans-
between smokestacks and wooden structures or trees because porting them back to the flock.
of the intense heat generated. This disease risk is of great
concern to the poultry industry.
Incinerator manufacturers specify capacities of their equipment,
usually in pounds per day to be incinerated. Refer to Table I below to Central drop-off facilities
determine the incinerator size to meet your specific needs. for rendering are being tried in
other states. The central-facility
approach may have real promise

Table I.
Expected Disposal Requirements For Poultry Flocks
Type of Poultry Average Carcass Flock Size for
Mortality Weight 100 pounds/day
Rate (Pounds)
Egg Production-type Layers 1% per month 3-3.5 100,000
Egg Production-type Breeders 1% per month 3-3.5 100,000
Broilers 3% per cycle 1 200,000
Broiler Breeders 1% per month 3-3.5 6 50,000


if the disease transmission and Composting use of composting for prepara-
sanitation problems can be tion of a waste material for land
overcome. Between pickups, Composting converts or- application. The universities of
dead birds must be secured in a ganic matter, such as dry poultry Maryland and Delaware have
closed area or container to waste or dead chickens, into a been conducting research on
prevent animals such as dogs or more uniform and relatively dead bird composting since
coyotes from removing them. odorless substance called humus 1987. Their studies have shown
Depending on frequency of or compost. Active composting is that properly constructed and
pickup, they may need to be the controlled version of natural operated two-stage composters
frozen to prevent decomposition decay. By creating the right can destroy both heat-resistant
and odors. Researchers and conditions, organic breakdown is and heat-sensitive poultry patho-
integrators are actively working accelerated, producing high gens in less than two weeks.
to develop systems for the safe temperatures that kill pathogens. They have assisted in the con-
storage and transport of poultry It is receiving increased attention struction and operation of dead
carcasses for rendering. as more people search for less bird composters on broiler farms
expensive alternatives to solid in Delaware, Maryland and
waste management. Virginia without disease or
Composting is a natural performance problems. Other
Digesting process in which beneficial states such as Alabama, Arkansas
The Louisiana Department microorganisms — bacteria and and Mississippi have had good
of Agriculture and Forestry fungi — reduce and transform or results with composting. Louisi-
regulates the construction and change organic wastes into a ana has recommended and
operation of digesters in Louisi- useful end product — compost. approved composting of dead
ana through the Livestock Sani- Composting is considered an birds since 1994.
tary Board. To use this method of aerobic (oxygen-requiring) In dead bird composting
mortality management, a permit process. It will normally reduce operations, a prescribed mixture
is required. Contact the Live- the volume by 50 percent or of dead chickens, manure, litter,
stock Sanitary Board for current more. straw, hay or rice hulls and water
regulations on the construction Dead poultry management provide the necessary ingredients
and operation of digesters. is one example of an appropriate for speeding the process and
changing the mixture to compost.
The key factors for successful
aerobic composting are a proper
carbon to nitrogen ratio (about
23:1), the proper moisture con-
tent (about 55 percent) and an
adequate supply of oxygen for
the bacteria. Acceptable carbon
to nitrogen ratios (C:N) are
between 15:1 and 35:1. Accept-
able moisture content ranges are
between 40 percent and 60
percent. The carbon source may
be rice hulls, wood shavings,
straw, litter or similar material.
The microorganisms in the
composting process are heat-
generating. They may cause the
temperature of the mixture to rise


as high as 170 degrees F. Typical
temperatures are between 140
and 160 degrees F. Temperatures
higher than 160 degrees F pose
the risk of fire and should be
avoided by turning the compost Composting reduces the weight, volume and moisture content of
pile. The producer should moni- the original material. If the material is properly managed during the
tor the temperature daily to make composting process, the final product will be a rich, uniform mixture
sure the composting process is suitable for pasture/field application or use in gardening and nurseries.
proceeding properly.
The nitrogen content and
the crude protein value of the
material can be reduced as much
as 40 percent through Composter size is based on
composting. This can be an broiler farm capacity, overall
advantage if the owner has a bird size at the end of the
production cycle and mortality.
limited land area for spreading
The NRCS has recommended
wastes and needs a way to reduce design specifications for dead
nitrogen application rates. bird composters.

Table II.
Number of first stage composter bins required based on
number of broilers on hand (NRCS Specifications).

Farm capacity Required cubic feet No. of first stage bins Required cubic feet for
for first stage bins (5' x 6' x 8') second stage bins

20,000 480 2 480

40,000 720 3 720

60,000 960 4 960

80,000 1200 5 1200

100,000 1440 6 1440

120,000 1680 7 1680


A simple mixture of straw
or hay, dead chickens, poultry
litter, water and oxygen will
produce the beneficial bacteria
and fungi needed to convert these
materials into an inoffensive,
useful compost. Odors and
insects have not been a problem
in research studies when
composters are properly oper-
ated. Tests on certain pathogens
(such as E. coli) and on Gumboro
and New Castle disease viruses
prove that these pathogens do not
survive the pasteurizing effects
of composting. Once the weight
and volume relationships of one
day’s dead poultry are deter-
mined, the other elements can be
weighed according to the for-
mula in Table III. Weigh the Table III.
elements in buckets on scales the Formula for dead poultry composting
first day. On subsequent days, a
loader can be used once the Materials Parts by weight
weight of a full loader/bucket is
determined for each element Poultry carcasses 1
except water. One gallon of water Chicken manure, litter cake 1.2
weighs about 8 pounds. Or, use a
hose to deliver the correct Straw (hay) or litter .1
amount of water based on a
percolation test (the time neces- Water (add sparingly) .75
sary to deliver the required
gallons through the hose). Some
growers in Mississippi have
found that no additional water is
needed when litter is wet.
The mixture is placed in a primary bin in layers. A 1-foot layer of
manure cake (litter) is first placed on the concrete floor of the bin.
Then a 6-inch layer of straw/hay is added to aid in aeration and to
provide a source of carbon. After these two layers, ingredients are
added according to the formula, beginning with a layer of carcasses, a
layer of litter, a layer of straw, then water (typically, 1 pound of water/
2 pounds of carcass). This completes one batch. The second and all
subsequent batches begin with a layer of carcasses, litter, straw and
water, in that order. After the last batch is added, the final cover cap is
a double layer of litter. Do not add water to this final cap. A small
amount of fly bait may be added to each layer daily if flies become a
problem. See Figure 1 for details on layering the ingredients.


During the composting
process, the volume of the mass Figure 1. Dead poultry composter bin layering
will reduce 25 percent to 30
percent, enabling the operator to
add more material to the top of
the bin.
Ideally, the composter will
be sized so that the average day’s
mortality will equal one layer of
dead chickens in the primary bin.
Each subsequent day, layer the
dead chickens and the other
elements in the bin (manure,
chickens, straw; manure, chick-
ens, straw. See Figure 1). If the
bin is too large to make a full
layer in one day (when chicks are
young, for example), a half or
quarter layer can be formed,
using extra litter to cover the
exposed edge of the partial layer.
Use only one layer of dead birds
(over 1/2 pound/carcass) per
Monitor the temperature in
the compost pile with a 36-inch The final step is to store the compost to come into contact
metal probe thermometer. The pasteurized compost. Poultry with any fresh manure, litter or
pile should reach 140 to 160 carcass compost should be drainage water. Curing allows
degrees F within a day or so, allowed to cure for approxi- further drying and aerobic de-
which pasteurizes the compost. mately 30 days before applying composition. As a result, the pH
After a week or so when the to land. After removal from the of finished compost is generally
temperature starts to drop, move secondary composting bin, stack around neutral, the C:N ratio
the material to the second stage or pile the compost no more than decreases, the cation exchange
bin or secondary alley for aera- 7 feet high in a dry stack facility capacity increases, the concentra-
tion and reheating. A skid loader or pole barn or under a water- tion of humus increases and
both mixes and aerates the proof cover, and do not allow the nitrate-nitrogen formation takes
compost as additional compost
from primary bins is added to the
older compost in the secondary
bin or alley. The temperature in
the secondary bin will begin to
rise as beneficial bacterial activ-
ity begins and will peak in five to
10 days. Monitor the temperature
in Stage 2 just as in the primary
stage. Be sure to check the
moisture content of the pile if
temperatures fail to rise.


place. The pile is also Foundation: An impervi-
recolonized by soil ous, weight-bearing foundation
microorganisms. This (preferably concrete) is critical
gives the compost some to all-weather operation because
disease-suppressing the bottom of the compost pile
qualities. Curing may be may get wet and soggy and
considered complete cause traction problems for
when the pile tempera- equipment. A concrete founda-
ture falls to near the tion secures the composter
temperature of surround- against rodents, dogs, etc., and
ing air. At the appropriate time during the growing reduces contamination of the surrounding area.
season, apply compost directly to the land. Work it Building Materials: Specify pressure-treated
into the soil, using the same guidelines as applied lumber or other rot-resistant materials because they
to poultry manure. resist rotting caused by alternative wet-dry cycles
Loading and managing a composter sized for and will extend the life of the facility.
a broiler farm with a 100,000 to 130,000-bird Composter Size: Capacity of the composter
capacity takes about 20 minutes a day over and must be sufficient to handle average mortality. The
above the time necessary to pick up the dead NRCS recommendations for composter size are
chickens. shown in Table II.
Thermometer: Monitoring the composting
Composter design can vary considerably temperatures is very important in good manage-
and still perform well, but experience teaches ment of a composting unit. A 36-inch probe ther-
that all good composters have certain common mometer is effective for monitoring temperature in
features: typical composting bins.
Roof: Although some materials may be The cost of materials for the composter,
composted in the open, this does not work well including the concrete pad, will range from $1,500
with dead bird composting. A roof ensures year- to $5,000 for a 40,000-bird operation. Total cost
round operation and controls rainwater and perco- will depend on composter size, design and the cost
lation, which can be major problems. Stormwater of labor to construct the unit. Researchers in Ala-
regulations will probably require roofs in the bama estimate the cost of composting dead birds at
future. 2.1 cents per pound. The estimated useful life of a
composting unit is 10 to 15 years. Detailed
composter recommendations are
available from the local NRCS,
Extension Service office or Soil
and Water Conservation District.
The nutrient content of the
compost will vary, depending on
the amount and nutrient content of
the manure and litter, the age of
the compost and the method of
storage. Compost samples ana-
lyzed by the University of Dela-
ware had the following average
analysis on an “as-sampled basis”:


Moisture 28%

Nitrogen (total) 1.85%

ammonium nitrogen 0.15%
organic nitrogen 1.70%

P2O5 2.29%

K2O 1.56%

A ton of compost with the

above analysis would provide 37
pounds of nitrogen (N), 46
pounds of phosphate (P2O5) and Compost may be applied using conventional rear-delivery or
31 pounds of potash (K2O). side-delivery manure spreaders for covering large acreage. For appli-
Because of variation in nutrient cation of compost as a top-dressing, broadcast cyclone-type applica-
composition of composts, regular tors are used. To obtain maximum uniformity of application and
analyses for nitrogen, phospho- reduce handling problems, compost should contain less than 40
rus, potassium, sulfur and micro- percent moisture.
nutrients are desirable.
Land application of compost or any poultry waste, like applica-
The value of applying this tion of fertilizer, must balance nutrient content with the crop nutrient
compost to agricultural land as needs based on regular soil tests and realistic yield goals. The biggest
compared to commercial fertil- problem is over-application. This is not only wasteful, but it also can
izer is about $23.40 per ton. This result in excessive levels of salts, nitrogen and phosphorus. Nutrients
figure is based on 37 pounds of not taken up by plants can be lost to groundwater by leaching or to
N at $0.20 per pound, 46 pounds surface water through runoff.
of P2O5 at $0.24 per pound and
31 pounds of K2O at $0.16 per To avoid excessive nutrient application, apply compost based on
pound. the nitrogen or phosphorus need of the crop and soil test results.
Nitrogen in compost is not as readily available as nitrogen in fresh
As with any organic soil poultry litter because more is in the organic form and less in the
amendment, actual nitrogen ammonium and urea form. In general, 50 percent to 65 percent of the
availability to plants depends on total nitrogen will be available during the growing season in which it
method of application. If the is applied. Assume 75 percent of the phosphate and potash will be
compost is spread on the surface, available. The rest will be available in following years.
most of the ammonia will
volatize and pass off as a gas. If Apply compost as close to planting as possible for row crops
incorporated, most of the ammo- and annual crops, and incorporate with normal soil tillage operations.
nia will be available for plant For perennial summer grass pastures and hayfields (bermudagrass
use. Phosphorus, potassium and and bahiagrass), apply in early spring and again in early summer if
micro-nutrients will remain for additional growth is needed. For cool-season perennial grass pastures
plant use. and hayfields (fescue and ryegrass), make early fall and early spring
applications. Based on the average analysis given earlier, and assum-
ing 65 percent of the nitrogen will be available during the season, the
following application rates may be appropriate. Contact your county
agent for current recommendations.


Table IV. Suggested application rates of dead bird compost

Crop Time of application Tons of

per acre

Corn 1-2 mos. before planting 7.5

Cotton 1-2 mos. before planting 3.2

Small grains (forage) & before fall planting 3.6

temporary winter grazing top-dressing in late winter 2.2

Summer pasture (bermuda, bahia) early spring 2.5a

early summer 2.5a

Cool-season pasture early fall 2.5

(fescue, ryegrass) late winter 2.5

Double this rate for hay production.

Abnormal Death Loss

If a large number of poultry carcasses need to be
disposed of because of weather-induced death (heat stress,
etc.), flooding or condemnation, normal disposal measures are
likely to be inadequate. In the event of the death of more than
1 percent of broilers or 0.5 percent of pullets or breeders
over four weeks of age on the same premises within a 24-hour
period (the death of which is not known to be caused by a
contagious or infectious disease), the dead poultry may be
disposed of by on-site burial. The State Veterinarian’s Office
must be notified immediately by telephone or facsimile if
excessive mortality requires on-site burial.



A. Water well B. Used engine oil, C. Irrigation water

protection - grease, batteries, quality
Farm*A*Syst/ tires, etc. Irrigation water (surface
Home*A*Syst and/or well) should be tested in
1. Used engine oil should the spring to determine the
should be used
be stored in a waste oil container salinity (salt) level before flood-
every three years
(tank or drum) until recycled. ing rice fields. Take samples to
to determine
potential 2. Empty paint cans, anti- an approved laboratory for
threats to water freeze containers, used tires, old analysis.
wells. Threats batteries, etc., will be stored in a
identified will be secure area until they can be
ranked and disposed of properly.
measured to
correct the most

D. Fuel storage tanks

Above-ground fuel storage tanks in Louisiana are regulated by
the State Fire Marshal and by the EPA if surface water is at risk.
Above-ground tanks containing 660 gallons or more require second-
ary containment. The State Fire Marshal recommends that some sort
of secondary containment be used with all fuel storage tanks. This
could include the use of double-walled tanks, diking around
the tank for impoundment or remote impoundment facilities.

These practices are to be followed:

• Any existing above-ground fuel storage tank of 660
gallons or more (1320 gallons if more than one) must have a

containment wall surrounding the tank capable of holding 100

percent of the tank’s capacity (or the largest tank’s capacity if
more than one) in case of spillage.
• The tank and storage area should be located at least 40
feet from any building. Fuel storage tanks should be placed
150 feet and downslope from surface water and water wells.


• It is recommended that the • Underground storage tanks
storage tank be on a concrete are defined as containing more
slab to prevent any spillage from than 10 percent of their total
entering surface and ground volume beneath the soil surface.
water. Underground tanks represent
more of a problem than above-
ground tanks, because leaks can
• The storage area should be often go for long periods without
kept free of weeds and other being detected. This poses a
combustible materials. serious threat to groundwater
sources in the vicinity of the
• The tank should be con- tank. If you have an underground
spicuously marked with the name fuel storage tank, you need to
of the product that it contains contact the State Fire Marshal’s
and “FLAMMABLE — KEEP Office for regulations affecting
FIRE AND FLAME AWAY.” these storage tanks.

• The bottom of the tank

should be supported by concrete
blocks approximately 6 inches
above the ground surface to
protect the bottom of the tank
from corrosion.

• If a pumping device is 10 % of tank is below

ground level
used, it should be tightly and
permanently attached and meet
NFPA approval. Gravity dis-
charge tanks are acceptable, but
they must be equipped with a
valve that will automatically
close in the event of a fire.

• Plans for the installation of

all storage tanks that will contain This tank would be classified as an
more than 60 gallons of liquid underground fuel tank.
must be submitted to the State
Fire Marshal for approval.

• All tanks that catch on fire

must be reported to the State Fire
Marshal within 72 hours of the


Information in this publication
was compiled by
Fred S. Sanders, Ph.D.,
Environmental Sciences.

Other LSU AgCenter

contributors were
Theresia Lavergne, Ph.D.;
John Hebert, Ph.D.;
Eddie Funderburg, Ph.D.;
and Mary L. Grodner, Ph.D.


T he complex nature of nonpoint pollution means programs designed to
reduce its impact on the environment will not be easy to establish or
maintain. Controlling these contaminants will require solutions as diverse
as the pollutants themselves. Through a multi-agency effort, led by the
LSU AgCenter, these BMP manuals are targeted at reducing the impact
of agricultural production on Louisiana’s environment. Agricultural
producers in Louisiana, through voluntary implementation of these
BMPs, are taking the lead in efforts to protect the waters of Louisiana.
The quality of Louisiana’s environment depends on each of us.

Visit our website:


Produced by LSU AgCenter Communications

Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, William B. Richardson, Chancellor

Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, R. Larry Rogers, Vice Chancellor and Director
Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, Jack L. Bagent, Vice Chancellor and Director

Pub. 2806 (2M) 7/00

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the
United States Department of Agriculture. The Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service provides equal opportunities in
programs and employment.

Funded through a cooperative agreement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Contract 522100.