Plant and Soil

, Volume 373, Issue 1–2, pp 359–372 | Cite as

Phosphorus availability in chicken manure is lower with increased stockpiling period, despite a larger orthophosphate content

  • C. A. E. PeirceEmail author
  • R. J. Smernik
  • T. M. McBeath
Regular Article


Background and aims

The relative proportions of phosphorus (P) forms present in manure will determine the overall availability of manure P to plants; however, the link between the forms of P in manures and manure P availability is unclear. This study compares the bioavailability and P speciation of three manures of different stockpiling duration: less than 1 month, 6 months and 12 months; manures were collected concurrently from a single poultry farm.


Bioavailability to wheat in a glasshouse trial was measured using an isotopic dilution method with manure added at an application rate equivalent to 20 kg P ha−1. Phosphorus speciation was measured by 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic analysis of NaOH-EDTA extracts of the manures.


The addition of all manures significantly increased shoot biomass and P concentration, with the fresh manure having the greatest effect. Addition of the fresh manure resulted in the largest labile P pool, highest manure P uptake and manure P recovery, while the manure stockpiled for 12 months resulted in the lowest manure P uptake and manure P recovery. NMR analysis indicated that there was more monoester organic P, especially phytate, in manure stockpiled for shorter periods, while the proportion of manure P that was orthophosphate increased with stockpiling time.


Together, these results imply that although the proportion of total P in the manures detected as orthophosphate was higher with longer stockpiling, only a fraction of this orthophosphate was plant-available. This suggests the availability of P from orthophosphate in manures decreases with longer stockpiling time in much the same way that P from orthophosphate in mineral fertilizer becomes less available in soil over time.


Chicken manure Stockpiling Phosphorus availability Isotopic technique NMR spectroscopy 



Diammonium phosphate


Ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid


Inductively coupled plasma—atomic emission spectroscopy


Methylene diphosphonic acid


Nuclear magnetic resonance




P derived from manure


Triple superphosphate



Thanks to Caroline Johnston, Colin Rivers and Steve Szarvas for analyses and technical assistance. C Peirce thanks the Grains Research and Development Corporation for the Undergraduate Honours Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. E. Peirce
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. J. Smernik
    • 1
  • T. M. McBeath
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and The Waite Research InstituteUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesAdelaideAustralia

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