The figures you cited are credible.
The cummulative load of arsenic to watersheds
and the environment is of great concern.
The arsenic literature is in-depth and complex. There
are regions of West Bengal where arsenic in well
water is abnormally high.
Poultry litter by itself is an excellent organic fertilizer.
But the addition of arsenic shifts the situation. It
is a perfect example of a non-sustainable practice
in industrial agriculture. It could not proceed
over the long-term without negative consequences.
Poultry litter is still used by organic farmers, but testing
is commonly required to monitor levels.
Interestingly, there are a few innovative growers in the
poultry industry who are employing deep, long-term
bedding in chicken houses -- managed by spraying
compost teas, organic acids, and microbial
preparations -- thereby achieving a better quality
organic fertilizer. Probiotics are also being used in the
poultry industry. Pelletized poultry litter is available in
a few regions, or can be shipped. It is valued by market
farmers as an organic fertilizer. Feather meal is another
by-product that is highly valued as an organic fertilizer.
Thus, there are segments of the poultry industry
that are employing sustainable practices and producing
valueable by-products. There are organic feeds.
There are organic chickens being produced from
large and small growers alike.
The arsenic contamination of poultry litter reduces
widespread useability, free from concern about adding
heavy metals to your soils, crops, and environment.
Keep in mind that arsenic is used in poultry feed by
some companies, and not by others.
To complicate matters, copper is another
amendment to some poultry feeds.
Dale Wilson wrote:
Arsenic in Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations ATTRA http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/arsenic_poultry_litter.htmlThat is disturbing, since arsenic, unlike even the most recalcitrant synthetic pesticides, is never degraded to harmless material. I found the following on the web. Looks credible. This seems like an awful lot of arsenic to put out into the environment. "Concentrations of total arsenic in poultry manure normally range from 15 to 35 parts per million. For the Delmarva Peninsula, where an estimated 600 million chickens produce more than 1.5 billion kilograms of raw manure annually, this translates to an annual load of 20 to 50 thousand kilograms of arsenic." http://va.water.usgs.gov/GLOBAL/Abst/hancock_agu_2000.htm Granted, the Delmarva peninsula is a big place http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delmarva_Peninsula Even so, putting an arsenical in feed on this scale just doesn't seem very smart. The manure would be great fertilizer but the arsenic is a bad deal. Dale
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