Poultry manureshed management: Opportunities and challenges for a vertically integrated industry

TitlePoultry manureshed management: Opportunities and challenges for a vertically integrated industry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBryant R, Endale D, Spiegal S., Flynn CK, Meinen RJ, Cavigelli M, Kleinman PJA
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Date Published7/26/2021
KeywordsPoultry manureshed management, vertically integrated industry

Manureshed management seeks to address systemic imbalances in nutrient distributions at scales beyond the farmgate and potentially across county and state boundaries. The U.S. poultry industry, which includes broilers, layers, pullets, and turkeys, has many characteristics that are compatible with achieving a vision of manureshed management, including a history of engaging in local and regional programs to better distribute manure resources. Despite widespread vertical integration that supports large-scale strategic decision making and dry manures that favor off-farm transport, there are still many challenges to poultry manureshed management that require engaging stakeholders other than just the poultry industry. Analysis of county-level nutrient budgets highlights the industry's “mega-manureshed,” extending from the Mid-Atlantic, across the southeast, and into northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The analysis also identifies areas with legacy nutrient build-up that are still present today. Implementing manureshed management in the U.S. poultry industry requires comprehensive consideration of manure treatment technologies, alternative uses such as bioenergy production, market development for treated manure products, transport of manure nutrients from source to sink areas, and manure brokering programs that promote manure nutrient distribution. Fortunately, past and present evolution and innovation within the industry places it as a likely leader of the manureshed vision.