Effect of alum (top-dressed and mixed) with rice hulls on pH and ammonia emissions from poultry houses
The use of aluminum sulfate [alum; Al2(SO3)4·14H2O] as top dressing to poultry litter has been proven in reducing ammonia (NH3) volatilization under both laboratory and field tests; however, there has been no information of alum application in mixing methods from poultry litter or rice hulls. The aim of the experiment was to evaluate the effects of alum top dressed or mixed with rice hulls as litter management methods on pH and NH3 emissions. A total of 180 broiler chickens were randomly allocated to 12 pens to a density of 0.07 m2/bird for 5 weeks, creating 4 replicates of 3 experimental treatments with 15 birds per experimental unit as a completely randomized design. The treatments included an untreated control, 100 g of alum (top dressing) and 100 g of alum (mixed)/kg of rice hull. In addition, alum treatment was usually applied by top dressing onto the rice hulls or fully mixed with the rice hulls. During the experimental period, pH and NH3 emissions were significantly reduced by the two different methods of alum amendments (P < 0.05) in the litter over time compared with the controls except for NH3 emissions at 1 through 3 weeks. However, no significant differences (P > 0.05) in pH and NH3 emission were observed between the two different methods with alum for 5 weeks. The reduction in NH3 emission from 100 g of alum top-dressed and 100 g of alum fully mixed with kg of rice hull at 5 weeks was 50 and 51%, respectively. In summary, these results indicate that “mixing” methods of alum as well as top dressing would serve as a suitable method for decreasing NH3 emission, which resulted in lower pH.
Key words: Alum, top dressing, mixing, pH, ammonia.