August 29, 2020

Study aims to find ways to limit pollutants from chicken houses


Researchers from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) have embarked on a new project that aims to limit the pollutants brought by run-offs from chicken houses and look at ways to keep the fertilizer on farms.

With a $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the researchers, who include students, will study and monitor the impact of run-offs from chicken houses on the environment, 47abc reported.

Dr. Amy Collick, assistant research professor at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, is spearheading the project which, she said, will help find the best method to reduce pollutants and help farmers retain their fertilizer better.

The study will be done in a new field testing facility on the UMES campus which, according to Collick, will give them a focused and controlled area rather than an entire watershed to look at the real critical issues.

"This facility will allow us to test a variety of them and have them isolated as single practices but also working together to compound the reduction", said Collick.

Collick said they will study chicken houses situated on UMES campus. "There's a good set of ditch networks and some older poultry house systems that we'll be able to look at", she said.

The Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) described the study as exciting because it adds resources for the chicken community. "Over the past 30 years, farmers' commitment to sustainable practices has resulted in reducing agriculture's nitrogen and phosphorus loads to the Chesapeake Bay by 25 percent. And Maryland's agriculture sector has reduced the nitrogen it sends to the Bay by even more—35 percent", it said in a statement, as per report.

"All that progress helped us meet the most recent benchmarks for reducing phosphorus and sediment that enters the Bay. DPI's long-running vegetative environmental buffers programme is one way we do our part to help everyone in the chicken community meet sustainability goals"

The poultry industry has grown across Maryland's Eastern Shore in recent years, sometimes creating conflicts with neighbors who were used to smaller poultry operations. Maryland poultry production surpassed $1 billion for the first time in 2017, largely because of changes in business practices that have made farms more productive and efficient, the industry said.