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University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Database of Dairy, Poultry, and Swine Manure/Litter Chemical and Physical Properties

Version 2 2024-04-04, 20:56
Version 1 2024-03-05, 14:24
posted on 2024-03-05, 14:24 authored by Nathan SlatonNathan Slaton, Uzair AhmadUzair Ahmad, Cheri Villines, Russell Delong, Otis Robinson

Nathan A. Slaton, Uzair Ahmad, Cheri Villines, Russell Delong, and Otis Robinson

The database contains select properties of more than 16,000 dry and liquid dairy, poultry, and swine manure samples submitted between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2023 by to the University of Arkansas Division of Agricultures’ Fayetteville Agricultural Diagnostic Laboratory (FADL). Most samples were submitted by clients with active animal production farms to determine manure properties for nutrient management planning. Most samples are from farms within Arkansas and Oklahoma. Metadata describing the production system, manure collection and storage, age, and bedding was provided by clients and assumed to be reasonably accurate. Animal type, Bedding type, and Manure type metadata not provided by the client was listed as “Unknown”. Metadata for Date received, Sample Age (Days), State, County, and some analytes are sometimes missing and were left as blank cells.

We could find no single literature source that describes all production systems and manure/litter types, but the information in Malone (1992), Key et al. (2011), and USDA-NRCS (2012) describes animal production systems, manure forms, and the factors that influence litter/manure production in animal production systems in the USA that may help understand the types of litter/manure forms included in this database.

Poultry litter (Dry) Samples

The database includes information for >13,000 poultry samples submitted from 1 January 2005 through 31 December 2023. Samples represented in the database include Broiler, Hen, Pullet, Turkey, Unknown (no animal-specific production system noted), Cornish, and Rooster. An example manure submission form is shown in Figure 1 (document attached). Manure types include Cake, Cleanout, Compost, Dead bird compost, Deep stack, Dry stack, Fresh litter, In-house, Lagoon liquid, Lagoon sludge, Loose, Pellets, Sludge, and Unknown. Bedding materials include Rice hulls (Oryza sativa L.), Sawdust, Wood shavings, and mixtures of Rice hulls and Sawdust, Rice hulls and Wood shavings, Wood shavings and Sawdust, Straw, and Wood shavings and Unknown.

Arkansas clients usually deliver samples directly to the FADL or a local county Extension office where a sample submission form (Figure 1: document attached) is completed, and the sample is shipped to the laboratory. Samples from Oklahoma were often delivered directly to FADL. When a sample arrives at the lab, the date received and the lab identification number are added to the sample’s submission form, which is filed for record-keeping. The lab numbers contain 5-6 digits, are numbered sequentially in the order received at the lab, and represent information including (from left to right): Letter M (Manure; note some samples include M and others do not because “M” was omitted when entered into the database); first or second number (1-10 or 20) stands for the year; and the last 4 numbers in the lab number are the order the sample was logged in at the FADL. The dataset also includes columns for the year and date received.

Using a scoop or spatula, representative portions or the bulk sample are split into two subsamples (~100 mL or cm3 each) which are placed into plastic bags. The as-received subsamples are refrigerated at 4°C if the analysis is performed on another day. One subsample is homogenized, ground using a coffee bean grinder, and used for pH, electrical conductivity, and total nutrient determinations. For high moisture content samples, a spatula is used to mix the sample when the subsamples are collected. The second subsample remains unaltered (as-received) and is used for moisture determination and water-extractable phosphorus (WEP) analysis. Any remaining bulk sample is stored at room temperature until analysis is complete and the results are delivered to the client. The FADL has participated in the Minnesota Manure Proficiency Program as part of the quality assurance and control program ( for all the years represented in this database.

The database includes two columns of data for WEP. Water-extractable P was originally performed using the 10:1 water/litter (v:w) ratio identified as the Arkansas method (Wolf et al., 2009). The Universal WEP method (Spargo, 2022; Wolf et al., 2009) is now used to determine water-extractable nutrients in manure samples. After 2009, the Arkansas WEP method was used on poultry litter samples since this was required for samples submitted from the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed (Sharpley et al., 2009; 2010). Beginning in 2010, the laboratory switched all WEP analyses to the Universal WEP method. The Universal water-extraction method (100:1) is the only method used for the determination of water-extractable potassium (WEK) which was started in 2009.

The counties and states of sample origin were not recorded in the original poultry litter dataset but were added for samples submitted beginning 1 January 2023. The county and state were added to random samples that were checked for accuracy of analytical information. Note that even when the county and state are provided, the county of litter origin may not be accurate since the county Extension office that received the sample may not be consistent with the county of production. Information included in the column identified as “Clients” has two levels: “ESWMT” (Eucha-Spavinaw Watershed Management Team) and “Other”. Samples with the client identified as ESWMT were submitted from poultry farms located within the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed (DeLaune et al., 2006; Sharpley et al., 2009). The ESWMT label identified these samples for the analysis requirements set by the watershed regulations requiring that all poultry litter samples be analyzed for WEP (OCCWQD, 2021).

Dairy and Swine Liquid Manure Samples

The database includes dairy and swine manure properties and metadata for >650 dairy and 1800 swine samples submitted from 1 January 2007 through 31 December 2023. The dairy and swine data include samples of dry and liquid manure forms. Most samples include geographic origin metadata at the state and county levels. Metadata for dairy and swine sample manure types include Cleanout, Compost, Dry stack, Holding pond, Lagoon, Lagoon liquid, Milk wash water, Pit, Pond, Settling basin, Settling pond, Settling basin sludge, Sludge, Tank, Wash water, and Unknown metadata were provided by the client. Sample age metadata should be used with caution since some values are low (e.g., 1-7 days) and may misrepresent the requested information.

Clients are provided with 500 ml (16.9 oz; 73×164 mm D×H: 53 mm cap) leakproof bottles and shipping boxes. Upon delivery, samples are refrigerated until the analyses are completed (Figure 2: document attached). The analyses performed are based on client requests and include the percent solids for liquid samples or percent moisture for dry samples.


  1. DeLaune, Haggard, B.E., Daniel, T.C., Chaubey, I., & Cochran, M. (2006). The Eucha/Spavinaw phosphorus index: A court mandated index for litter management. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 61(2), 96-105.
  2. Key, N., McBride, W.D., Ribaudo, M., & Sneeringer, S. (2011) Trends and developments in hog manure management: 1998-2009. EIB-81. USDA-ERS. September 2011.
  3. Malone, G.W. (1992). Nutrient enrichment in integrated broiler production systems. Poultry Science, 71(7), 1117-1122.
  4. Oklahoma Conservation Commission Water Quality Division (OCCWQD). (2007). Watershed based plan for the lake Eucha/lake Spavinaw watershed. Oklahoma Conservation Commission, 1–56. July 2021.
  5. Sharpley, A., Herron., S., West, C., & Daniel, T. (2009) Outcomes of the phosphorus-based nutrient management in the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed. In A.J. Franzluebbers (ed), Farming with grass: Achieving sustainable mixed agricultural landscapes (pp. 192-204). Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny, IA.
  6. Sharpley, A., Moore, P., VanDavender, K., Daniels, M., Delp, W., Haggard, B., Daniel, T., & Baber, A. (2010). Arkansas phosphorus index. FSA 9531. University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Printing Services.
  7. Spargo, J.T. (2022). M-6.1 Water extractable phosphorus, 100:1 solution to solids ratio. In M. L. Wilson & S. Cortus (Eds.), Recommended Methods of Manure Analysis (2nd ed., pp. 83-86). University of Minnesota: Minnesota Libraries Publishing.
  8. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). (2012). Chapter 4: Agricultural waste characteristics. In Part 651: Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook. USDA, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, DC.
  9. Wolf, A.M., Moore, P.A., Jr., Kleinman, P.J.A., & Sullivan, D.M. (2009). Water-soluble water-extractable phosphorus in animal manure and biosolids. In J.L. Kovar & G.M. Pierzynski (Eds.), Methods of Phosphorus Analysis for Soils, Sediments, Residuals, and Waters (Revised Edition, pp. 76-80). Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No 408.


Arkansas Fertilizer Tonnage Fees administered by the Arkansas Soil Test Review Board

University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station: State Project 1952

University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station: State Project 2824

Evaluation of Fertilization Practices, Soil Fertility, and Plant Nutrition for Crops Produced in Arkansas

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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Evaluation of Soil Nutrient Availability Indices, Fertilization, and Crop Management Practices on Plant Nutrition and Yield of Crops Produced in Arkansas

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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Development of Crop Nutrient Management Decision Aids Based on Plant and Soil Analyses

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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Plant, Soil, and Manure Analytical Service Programs

United States Department of Agriculture

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Plant, Soil, and Manure Analytical Service Programs

United States Department of Agriculture

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Data contact name

Slaton, Nathan

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

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  • Not specified

Geographic location - description

Arkansas, Oklahoma

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

Arkansas; databases; pig manure; farms; nutrient management; Oklahoma; poultry manure; composts; data collection; phosphorus; nutrients; watersheds; potassium; watershed management; swine; liquid manure; carbon; calcium; nitrogen

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public