The Delmarva Chicken Association, formerly Delmarva Poultry Industry) launched a new, free mobile app, Littr. The app is designedto help growers anywhere on Delmarva who have poultry litter find customers seeking to use it as a valuable fertilizer.
DCA developed the app by partnering with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Campbell Foundation for the Environment, the Delmarva Land & Litter Collaborative and Common Logic.
Creating this app is one way DCA is stepping in to help growers during the final implementation of Maryland’s Phosphorous Management Tool (PMT), when many growers may need to find other users of litter.
Over the past five months DCA has worked closely with stakeholders, including chicken growers, grain farmers, litter brokers and other service providers to develop a simple tool that can be used on any smartphone or tablet to move litter in Delmarva’s $3.5 billion chicken community.
“Littr. is designed to link poultry growers who have litter, a locally-sourced, organic and slow-release fertilizer, with those who need it – from grain farmers to mushroom growers to alternative users and everyone in between,” said Holly Porter, DCA’s executive director. “We know there are farmers who want litter for their farms instead of purchasing commercial fertilizer, but they aren’t sure how to source it. This app can bridge that supplier-customer gap, and in the process, help farmers profit while also protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal watersheds.”
Chicken litter is the mix of wood-shavings chicken house bedding and chicken manure that covers the floors of Delmarva’s chicken houses.
Chicken growers commonly condition litter by in-house composting between flocks, but occasionally, they move some or all of a chicken house’s litter to covered manure sheds between flocks to make room for fresh wood shavings.
The nitrogen and phosphorus in chicken litter makes fertilizer for crops like corn, soybeans and wheat, and more than 95 percent of all poultry litter is recycled to fertilize crops, a released stated.
Improved litter management has allowed farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to reduce agricultural nitrogen entering the Bay by 39 percent and reduce agricultural phosphorus reaching the Bay by 25 percent. A portion of the Chesapeake watershed is in Delaware.
In Delaware, work has been underway. to reduce nitrogen loads in the Inland Bays