The recommended rate of PLT will vary based on litter age, litter quality, previous litter management, floor moisture, and ammonia flux. Read this article to understand how sufficient application rates are determined.
The general guidelines on the PLT Product Data Sheet recommends the following:
- Broiler litter: 1 year old or less – 75-100-lbs. / 1,000 sq. ft. of floor space
- Broiler litter: Older than 1 year – 100-150-lbs. / 1,000 sq. ft. of floor space
- Windrowed litter – 150+ lbs. / 1,000 sq. ft. of floor space
No, PLT does not require heat to activate and can be applied on a cold floor. Just like all litter amendments, the product will start reacting with ammonia as soon as it is applied. If PLT is applied before floor temperature reaches 85 degrees, the product will be consumed by the ammonia purge leaving very little to control ammonia during the rest of the brooding period. PLT is hygroscopic and does require moisture to activate.
Yes. The main ingredient in PLT is also classified as a feed additive.
The PLT cloud is seen if the house is not properly purged of ammonia prior to application. It is a non-toxic fog that forms when PLT reacts with ammonia gas in the environment. If the cloud is heavy and dense, you will lose significant amounts of longevity of PLT. Consult the PLT Product Data Sheet for proper application procedures.
Yes. PLT is the only litter amendment that can be safely applied or reapplied after birds are present in the house. This can be done anytime during the grow-out.
The activity of PLT can and will be directly impacted by the relative humidity percentage (RH %) in the house. The ideal RH % range for baby chicks as well as PLT is the same— between 50% to 70% If the RH % is below 50% the PLT reacts very slowly with the ammonia releasing from the floor. RH % below 50% also contributes to dehydration of baby chicks.
On the other hand, if the RH % is above 70%, the opposite will happen. The extra moisture will cause the PLT to activate too quickly, decreasing the longevity of ammonia control.
PLT improves paw quality. Ammonia in the damp areas of the litter is corrosive to the skin and causes Foot Pad Dermatitis development. When PLT is applied and the ammonia in the damp areas is neutralized, paw lesions are significantly reduced. Remember, it is OK to re-apply PLT in wet areas during the flock to reduce ammonia damage to the paws.
Because PLT and most litter amendments are hygroscopic, meaning they start to activate immediately upon application. When PLT is applied this far in advance, it will activate with the large amount of ammonia that comes off the floor during pre-heating. This wastes the PLT that was applied and leaves little product available to bind ammonia once the chicks or poults arrive.
The two drivers of ammonia release from the litter are temperature and surface area. When heat is applied to the litter to prepare for bird placement, the increased temperature drives ammonia from the floor into the air. From a bird performance aspect, it is critical that the ammonia purge caused by pre-heating take place prior to PLT application and bird placement to increase the longevity of ammonia control well into the brooding period.
Yes. When it is time to move birds down, a 24 hour preheat period is usually standard procedure. Unfortunately, just as ammonia purged in the brood chamber at pre-placement, the ammonia will purge off the off chamber floor once the floor reaches 80-85 degrees. This can occur as late as 36-48 hours post move down. The ammonia purge during this time will have significant impact on the performance of the birds causing a loss of weight and feed conversion. By applying PLT one (1) hour prior to move down, it will drastically reduce ammonia challenge, help birds migrate faster, and minimize vaccination stress thus increasing your bottom line.
No. If you spray the floor with water, you will create a wet surface area that will chill baby birds.
pH is the measure of the concentration of the hydrogen ions in solution. The greater the concentration of hydrogen ions, the lower the pH. Most broiler litter has a pH of 7.5-8.5 prior to PLT application. Once PLT is applied, the surface pH can drop to 1.8-2.0 making the surface of the litter acidic. This is what neutralizes the ammonia being released from the litter surface.
The ideal litter depth for a typical broiler production should be about 6 inches. Less litter depth will cause the loss of insulating value of the litter and will reduce absorptive capacity. This will cause more fuel usage and it will be harder for the birds to maintain body temperature during brooding. When litter depth gets over 10 inches it becomes harder to manage the moisture, beetles and ammonia flux creating a harsh environment for the flocks.
There are a lot of different opinions on this within the industry today. It is our opinion that built up litter /manure can be successfully utilized for about 24-36 months at the most. After that, manure loads become so high that ammonia release is exaggerated. Growers can either clean-out or strip the litter from the sidewalls to reduce the manure load.
Moisture in the litter is a necessary contributor to relative humidity inside a poultry house. When litter is pre-heated, moisture is released from the litter contributing to proper relative humidity in the house. When litter is too dry and fine, it is difficult to reach proper relative humidity levels of 50-70% causing dehydration of birds. When litter is too wet, caking occurs easily and ammonia levels can be high later on.
No. The most corrosive substance in the poultry house is ammonia.
Wet spots are a sign of proper PLT activation. PLT is hygroscopic and the wet spots indicate that product is melting and activating properly.
We all become desensitized to ammonia fairly quick after starting a poultry operation. It is not uncommon for producers, service techs and other company management to not be able to detect ammonia levels high as 80-100ppm. Just because you don’t smell it doesn’t mean you don’t have damaging amounts of ammonia at bird level. Remember that birds are closer to the source of ammonia.
PLT allows a poultry house to be ventilated for relative humidity during brooding rather than needing to be over-ventilated for ammonia removal.
One of two things occurred, both resulting in insufficient amounts of PLT left in the house by the time the birds arrived. Using a rate of PLT that is too low for your litter age and ammonia challenge will result in all of the PLT being exhausted before birds arrive. Also, applying PLT prior to the ammonia purge that occurs during pre-heating can bind all of the PLT that was applied in the pre-heating process leaving no PLT in the house when the birds arrive. Following proper application procedures of PLT will prevent this from happening the next flock.
PLT binds the ammonia in the house converting it into ammonium sulfate. For every 100-lbs of PLT applied, 54-lbs ammonium sulfate is formed. This nitrogen is plant available after land application.
The major ingredient in PLT is sodium bisulfate which is used in both human and animal foods. Sodium bisulfate is included in the class of compounds know as acid salts. Compared to other acid salts, Sodium Bisulfate is one of the lowest cost and safest available. It is considered non-hazardous by DOT, therefore not regulated. OSHA identifies it as an irritant and the NFPA hazard rating is 1-0-1, very low compared to other acids. If it is spilled it can be swept up, avoiding the environmental headaches associated with liquid acids.
This quickly removes the ammonia released from the litter during pre-heating. Removing this large amount of ammonia from the pre-heating process will allow the PLT being applied to be reserved for when the birds arrive. Not removing this ammonia can results in a 3-4 day loss of PLT longevity.