Poultry Litter Treatment

Poultry Litter Treatment

Lower pH and Eliminate Ammonia in Poultry Litter

PLT® is a mineral-based acidifier that lowers litter pH and eliminates ammonia for improved air quality in poultry houses. Top producers rely on PLT for its consistent quality and predictable performance. Pre-placement, mid-flock, short downtimes–only PLT delivers this level of flexibility and safety in application.

PLT Resources

The team at Jones-Hamilton Co. are known as experts on litter management in poultry production. Explore our library of resources to find insights on maximizing product benefits, litter management best practices and more.

Higher Rates of PLT Saves on Fuel Costs
Higher rates of PLT can save $600-$1,200 a flock on fuel costs.
PLT to the rescue
If you've applied any poultry litter amendment other than PLT and get an ammonia spike at bird placement, PLT is the only litter treatment safe enough to apply with birds in the house.
Maximize your PLT application with these 5 simple steps.
PLT poultry litter treatment provides reliable, safe, affordable ammonia control that boosts performance, lowers fuel costs and improves animal welfare.

Why Choose PLT® - Poultry Litter Treatment

The first (and safest) litter amendment

PLT poultry litter treatment (sodium bisulfate) has been made in the U.S.A. since 1994 and continues to be the leading litter amendment due to its reliability, efficacy and value. It is the only non-hazardous (per current US DOT guidelines) litter treatment on the EPA Safer Choice Program Safer Chemical Ingredient List.

PLT can be used in poultry houses of every type, regardless of program (conventional, NAE, etc), and can be applied anytime – even with birds in the house.

Eliminate Ammonia and Lower Litter pH to Improve Bird Performance

Ammonia can have severe detrimental effects on poultry feed conversion and body weight gain. Decades of research have shown that exposing birds to 50 ppm of ammonia (NH3) can reduce FCR by as much as 10 points.

At 7 weeks, ammonia’s impact is clearly evident on bird weight. Even ammonia levels under 25 ppm can significantly reduce profits.

Effect Of Increased Ammonia Levels On Bird Body Weight At 7 Weeks 2002

Impact of Ammonia on Body Weight at 7 Weeks

Low pH = Favorable Environment for Birds

The target pH for poultry litter is 4.0 or below because at that level odor-causing bacteria are suppressed. Higher PLT rates keep the pH lower for longer.

PLT Helps Growers Save Money on Fuel

PLT reduces fuel costs by allowing houses to be ventilated based on relative humidity rather than over-ventilating to remove ammonia. When PLT is applied at a rate that is sufficient for the ammonia challenge, fuel use has been shown to decrease by 33-37%.

Increase Litter’s Value as a Fertilizer Source

55 lbs. of ammonium sulfate fertilizer is generated for every 100 lbs. of PLT that is applied. As PLT retains nitrogen and turns ammonia gas into fertilizer, the value of the litter increases substantially.

Fertilizer total N percent

Amount of retained Total Nitrogen in litter after  PLT usage over three flocks

Fertilizer lbs sbs

Amount of NH4-N in litter after PLT use over three flocks

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PLT Frequently Asked Questions

Rate & Application

How do I decide what rate of PLT to use?

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

PLT may be applied prior to pre-heating or up to day of placement. NOTE: if applied prior to pre-heat, early activation of the project may result in reduced product longevity. Therefore, an application rate of 150-200 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. is recommended.

How does PLT affect the litter pH?

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.

When can I apply PLT?

PLT can be applied ANYTIME, from pre- set-up through the grow-out. 

Has the recommended timing of PLT application changed?

Yes and no. PLT has always been safe to apply at anytime – from pre- set-up through grow-out. In the past, the recommendation that PLT be applied as close to bird placement as possible was to help extend the longevity of the product. This is true for all litter amendments.

PLT and most litter amendments are hygroscopic, meaning they start to activate immediately upon application. When PLT is applied prior to set up or pre-heating, the product will not last as long into growout. Instead it will activate with the large amount of ammonia that comes off the floor during pre-heating and leave less product available to control ammonia once birds are placed.

If applied prior to pre-heat, early activation of the project may result in reduced product longevity. Therefore, an application rate of 150-200 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. is recommended. Application timing will affect the longevity and recommended application rate for ALL litter amendments.

I don’t smell much ammonia. Can I cut my PLT rate?

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.

Why should I turn on fans and drop curtains before application?

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.

Does PLT® need heat to activate?

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.

How long will PLT last?

If you use the proper rate of PLT for litter conditions and follow the proper application procedures, you can expect PLT to last for the entire brooding period.

Should I use PLT in the off chamber?

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.

Is PLT hazardous?

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.

Is it safe if PLT gets in the feed?

Yes. The main ingredient in PLT is also classified as a feed additive.

Is it safe to apply PLT with birds in the house?

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.

Is PLT corrosive?

No. The most corrosive substance in the poultry house is ammonia.
Basic Troubleshooting

What does the “PLT Cloud” mean?

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.

I have wet spots on my chick paper. What does that mean?

Wet spots are a sign of proper PLT activation. PLT is hygroscopic and the wet spots indicate that product is melting and activating properly.

I applied PLT as directed, but I still had ammonia when my birds arrived. What happened?

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.

How does using PLT save fuel?

PLT allows a poultry house to be ventilated for relative humidity during brooding rather than needing to be over-ventilated for ammonia removal.

How does PLT increase my fertilizer value?

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.
Moisture, Litter Management and PLT

What happens to ammonia when litter is heated?

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.

How does relative humidity impact PLT?

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.

How does PLT impact paw quality?

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.

Should I spray the litter with water if it is too dry?

No. If you spray the floor with water, you will create a wet surface area that will chill baby birds.

What should I maintain as my minimum litter depth?

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.

How do moisture levels in litter affect house management?

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.

How long can I reuse my litter?

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.

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