Poultry litter performed as well as conventional fertilizer and better than dairy manure in a Western Kentucky University tall fescue study.

An endophyte-free fescue variety was seeded in 2010 using conventional and no-till establishment methods. Fertilizer, poultry litter and dairy manure were applied at rates that supplied 200 lbs/acre of nitrogen in spring 2011 and again in 2012.

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Poultry litter and fertilizer significantly increased yield compared to untreated control plots, and the forage was higher in crude protein and lower in acid detergent fiber. Poultry litter also brought higher yields than dairy manure.

Tillage treatment didn’t affect yield in 2011, but conventionally seeded plots produced more forage than no-till seedings in 2012, and it was higher in quality, according to the researchers.