Best practice manual for managing litter

Integrity Ag and Environment Pty Ltd

  • Project code: PRJ-011589

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, August 16, 2019

  • Project completion date: Friday, December 4, 2020

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 1-Improving environmental sustainability outcomes


Litter conditions must be managed throughout the meat chicken production cycle to provide a comfortable environment for the chickens and ensure efficient poultry production. A large body of work exists, based on Australian and international research, outlining the best practices for managing litter in the sheds, and spent litter. Recent work by the authors documented a range of litter management practices (e.g. depth, tillage, litter type). While there is a large amount of information around litter management, it is often in an inaccessible or hard to understand format to the average producer or single issue format that doesn’t describe the ‘whole picture’.
This project proposes developing a manual to bring all the relevant information regarding litter management into one place. However, to make this truly accessible to industry we propose developing the content in a web-ready format that will provide a platform that is searchable and provides useful information such as video to demonstrate practices. As a prototype concept, we also propose an option where we will develop an interactive aspect, where producers can comment on different management practices and add their experience. Understanding that this second aspect is a less common approach for the industry, we have outlined the two aspects separately for consideration.
In addition to this, the project covers the request for a survey of industry barriers and recommendations related to litter reuse. This closely related topic will be done in conjunction with development of the guideline, and relevant information will be incorporated into the guide.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

Integrity Ag and Environment Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

Review litter reuse:
1. Industry survey of current and potential barriers to reuse of chicken litter
2. Develop agreed options to overcome the current and potential barriers
Best practice manual for litter management
1. Review management practices for litter based on Australian and overseas research and experience. The manual will include assessment on (but not limited to) current litter management practices, litter types, management issues (including pre-treatment, caking, tillage, beetles, etc), ventilation and moisture management, clean out practices, litter reuse (benefits and “how to”), bird health implications and spent litter management will be assessed. Also, industry consultation will be conducted via site farm visits and national and international experts (e.g. Michael Czarick, Brian Fairchild Ken Casey and Geof Runge) will be engaged.
2. Trouble shooting guide on strategies to control major litter management issues will be included.
3. Provide a knowledge platform for the extensive range of information developed in the chicken meat program over many years, and adapt this information to be user friendly and readily accessible (searchable). This may include devolving the content from traditional project reports into fact sheets or knowledge modules to increase readability. This platform may also access information produced internationally, with appropriate provisions for loading this to the site.
4. Propagate, over time, an extensive user generated knowledge base via a web platform. This will substantially reduce the cost of knowledge transfer compared to traditional extension services, and partly filling the void left by the decline in government extension services.