Poultry litter: alternative fertiliser and ways to increase soil organic carbon


This project will evaluate pasture and soil responses to different rates of poultry litter, in comparison to inorganic fertiliser, at 2 sites in northern Victoria. The project will also develop guidelines on how to use poultry litter, to achieve similar levels of pasture production to inorganic fertilisers. Current information on safe handling/use of poultry litter to reduce animal health risks to grazing ruminants will be reviewed, updated and incorporated in the guidelines. Three workshops will be conducted for producers (and some advisors) to improve the confidence, knowledge and skills of sheep/cattle producers and achieve greater adoption of poultry litter as an alternative fertiliser.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

The University of Melbourne

Objective Summary

1. Evaluate and demonstrate methods of using poultry litter as an alternative source of nutrients (phosphorus in particular) for pastures. 2. Promote and support adoption of the use of alternative fertilisers and practices that are cost effective and can improve soil organic carbon. 3. Evaluate if the use of poultry litter, broadcast on the soil surface, can increase the rates at which total soil organic carbon and more stable forms of carbon (humus) are built up, in comparison to use of inorganic fertilisers (NB: Objective 3 is the subject of a project proposal submitted to the DAFF Climate Change Research program).

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, June 1, 2009

Project Completion Date

Saturday, August 31, 2013

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

CME-Develop and implement measures to improve industry's impact on the enviroment