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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT AND USE OF ANIMAL MANURE TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

2006 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Animal manure generated annually in the US (estimated to exceed 335 million tons) contains more than 10 million tons of nitrogen (N) and 6 million tons of phosphorus (P) and many other plant nutrients. However, manure in general is underutilized as a nutrient source for row crops and forages. For example, cotton and corn farmlands have the potential to assimilate a substantial amount of the excessive poultry litter generated in the southeastern US. Significant environmental impact can occur if manure is improperly managed at the production site and when applied to land. Animal agriculture has also been the focus of much attention as potential source of pathogenic microorganisms associated with live animal, food- and water-borne diseases. The problem of malodorous compound emissions from farms and rearing facilities are two-fold: reliable quantification of malodorous compounds from these facilities is needed, as are practices and techniques for odor abatement. The objectives of this research are to investigate the environmental problems related to the improper use of animal manure such as nutrients, pathogens, trace elements, greenhouse gasses, odor-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust and sediment associated with animal production facilities and manure application that can degrade soil, water and air quality, and pose a threat to human and animal health.

Objectives are (1) develop management practices and decision tools for long-term use of animal manure as an alternative source of fertilizer for forages and row crops with regard to the following factors: impacts on crop yield, nutrient loading, availability and uptake, manure application rate and timing, tillage, methods of application, and soil quality; (2) determine if nutrient loading from agricultural watersheds in karst terrain is a function of physical watershed characteristics; (3) reduce odiferous emissions by developing innovative molecular-based methods to identify and quantify microorganisms and biological activities responsible for production of odorous compounds in livestock wastes; (4) develop new analytical approaches to quantify gases (e.g. methane, H2S), volatile odor compounds (e.g. p-cresol, skatole, and other VOCs) and evaluate treatment technologies for odor abatement at animal production facilities and manure-applied fields; and (5) employ molecular-based methods to improve detection, quantification, and evaluation of transport, and survival of pathogens from animal manure. Also, compare survival of these pathogens with indicator organisms through a series of laboratory and watershed studies.

The research under this newly established research project 6445-12630-003-00D in Bowling Green, Kentucky, will address several components of the NP 206 “Manure and Byproduct Utilization” Action Plan, specifically, Problem Areas 2, 3, and 4 (Nutrient); Problem Areas 1, 3, and 4 (Emission); and Problem Areas 1, 2a and 2b (Pathogen). This research also contributes to research activities related to NP 201” Water Quality and Management” and NP 202 “Soil Resource Management”.


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
Year 1 (FY 2006): Establish field plots, collect background soil samples, begin manure application.

Collect background soil samples; establish bermudagrass and tall fescue forages; begin manure banding application; start collecting runoff water.

Collect soil samples to 120 cm depth; complete analyses of all soil and plant tissue samples collected in the previous season. Continue research on banding experiment.

Initiate long-term residual effect study on commercial farms; complete rotation research; analyze data collected from litter vs fertilizer research.

Locate sampling sites; install and test sampling equipment; conduct dye tracing experiments at Cave Spring Caverns to determine groundwater catchments.

Develop and optimize Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (QRT-PCR) reactions for target groups.

Develop protocols for improved capture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by evaluating various phases and adsorbents. Perform comparisons of solid-phase extraction techniques on liquid wastes.

Evaluate effect of added NO3 to wastes.

Characterize community; develop primer/probes for QRT-PCR.

Development of laboratory protocols for column experiments; selection of field sites for collection of water for survival studies.

Year 2 (FY 2007): Harvest yield, collect soil for incubation and column studies, conduct chemical analyses of soil, plant, and manure samples.

Harvest forage yield, conduct chemical analysis of soil, plant, and manure samples.

Repeat activities of year 1, data evaluation; presentation; publications.

Adjust treatments, continue research; develop manuscripts on litter vs fertilizer.

Continue dye tracing experiments at Cave Spring Caverns; collect base flow water samples at Logsdon River.

Field studies, quantification and correlation to biochemical emissions.

Field studies started to determine fluxes and concentrations of VOCs.

Evaluate effect of added NO3 to wastes.

Bench scale and field tests to examine survival.

Conduct column experiments; conduct survival studies.

Year 3 (FY 2008): Review of research results at “South East Poultry Litter Research Group” meeting; Finish soil characterization and incubation studies, continue column experiment, present results, write publication.

Repeat the field and lab activities done in Yr 2; make presentation, write publications.

Writing manuscripts from banding and incorporation studies; test subsurface banding on a farm-scale in cooperation with state extension service.

Continue long-term residual study.

Continue base flow sampling at Logsdon; collect storm event data at Logsdon River; begin sampling waterfalls at Cave Springs Caverns.

Continue field studies, prepare scientific publications/presentations.

Continue field studies on fluxes of VOCs; determine transport potential of VOCs.

Evaluate effects of added quinones and humic substances to wastes containing insoluble iron.

Prepare scientific publications, presentations on incidence/survival of Campylobacter.

Continue survival studies.

Year 4 (FY 2009): Review of research results at “South East Poultry Litter Research Group” meeting; finish soil characterization and incubation studies, continue column experiment, present results, write publication.

Make treatment adjustment based on 3-year results, present results, and write publication.

Write manuscripts from banding and incorporation studies; test subsurface banding on a farm-scale in cooperation with state extension service.

Test selected BMPs on a farm-scale in cooperation with state extension service.

Continue base flow and storm event sampling at Logsdon River; continue sampling of waterfalls at Cave Springs Caverns.

Scientific information regarding the microbial populations involved in emissions and the correlation to biochemical analyses.

Continue field studies on fluxes of VOCs; determine transport potential of VOCs.

Evaluate effects of added quinones and humic substances to wastes containing insoluble iron.

Prepare scientific publications, presentations on incidence/survival of Campylobacter.

Prepare scientific publications and presentations on transport and survival behavior of Campylobacter.

Year 5 (FY 2010): Develop guidelines/products; technology transfer; publications, outcome.

Develop guidelines; BMPs, disseminate products/ technology transfer by presenting at scientific meetings, local/regional field days, extension agents; prepare publications.

Prepare guideline of poultry litter BMPs suitable for end-users in the form of experiment station bulletins or similar outlets; make presentations and publications.

Conclude long-term residual effect research; prepare BMP guidelines based on research results in the form of experiment station bulletin.

Prepare publications and presentations.

Scientific information regarding the microbial populations involved in emissions and the correlation to biochemical analyses.

Development of transport models that are capable of predicting transport and fate of VOCs in complex terrains.

Prepare presentations/publications on the effects of electron acceptor manipulations.

Prepare data sets on inactivation rates for Campylobacter agricultural wastes.

Compilation of transport parameters and inactivation rates for Campylobacter; attempt to incorporate data into predictive models.


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
1) Completed a study to evaluate the survival of C. jejuni and E. coli in groundwater microcosms that resulted in 1 submitted publication and 4 abstracts and talks. Results of the study suggest that E. coli does not serve as an adequate indicator of C. jejuni survival and that survival is significantly influenced by the nutrient makeup of the water source.

2) Developed an equilibrium sampler for the measurement of malodorous compounds in water. This allows measurement of these compounds on site in waste lagoons, anaerobic pits and other sites on animal production facilities.

3) Established four experiments to study broiler litter seasonal and method of applications.


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
1) Completed all the milestones related to objectives 1.1 to 1.4.

2) Methodology has been developed for quantifying malodorous sulfides (hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, etc.) from waste slurries and microbial cultures. This methodology is being used to determine if probes developed for the quantification of sulfate reducing bacteria can be used to predict sulfide emissions from lagoons, anaerobic pits and other waste storage areas.

3) Completed development of QRT-PCR assays to target Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis, C. jejuni and E. coli in environmental samples.

4) Conducted dye and nutrient injection experiment in Logsdon River. Located additional site for conducting injection experiments.


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
1) Presented the Unit goal, mission, and research accomplishments at the Field Days and other local and regional meetings in Kentucky and Alabama.

2) Presented Unit goal, mission and research interests at the Stakeholders Technical Committee meeting which will likely become a yearly event.

3) Invited talk entitled "Emerging Trends in Pasture Forage Fertilization" at the University of Florida 2006 Extension Symposium meeting.

4) Presented information about the ARS to middle school students at the annual Science Day event held in Decatur, AL, by one of the Unit scientist.


4d.Progress report.
None


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
Research results showed litter application in bands -- a new practice that buries the litter about 2 inches under the soil in narrow bands for forages and row crops is better than the conventional broadcast application. For example, the yield of cotton fertilized by banding 3 ton/ac litter was about the same as the yield of cotton fertilized with 5 ton/ac applied by the customary broadcast application. This suggests applying litter in bands under the soil surface conserves litter-derived nutrients vulnerable to loss by volatilization and possibly in runoff water.

Optimization of a QRT-PCR assay to detect Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) in environmental samples is complete. Using this assay, MAP was monitored in weekly samples were taken from the pen of a cow that had clinical Johne’s disease (caused by MAP). The duration of survival of MAP in the environment after removal of the animal was determined. An enrichment study was conducted to enrich for and characterize microorganisms associated with skatole-production. Samples were extracted and compared using molecular-based methods (DGGE and clonal library sequence analysis). Data were used for two poster presentations, and paper is in preparation. A proceedings paper was prepared using data from preliminary enrichment studies.

An equilibrium sampler was developed that allows for the sampling of malodors in situ on animal production facilities. This sampler is being used to quantify malodors at various depths in swine waste lagoons and will serve in quantifying odor sources for flux measurements of odor from the lagoons. Equipment is being developed to quantify malodorous compounds near the air-water interface for these measurements and preliminary experiments have been conducted.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
Information related to best management practices (BMPs) of animal manure particularly poultry litter were outlined and disseminated to farmers/producers during the regional field days and during Kentucky Farm Bureau different commodity meetings.

Information on the animal manure utilization for forages (bermudagrass and ryegrass) and row crops (cotton and corn), also in the area of emission, odor, and water quality have been published in scientific outlets.

Scientific research results are available for incorporation into states nutrient management guidelines (e.g. USDA-NRCS codes 590 and 633) to be utilize by the county extension agents, and USDA-NRCS district conservationists.

At the request of our cooperating farmers, prepared and provided FACT SHEETS of poultry litter use on cotton based on research results. Similar research results were also communicated with other farmers at a meeting of Producer Advisory Council in North Mississippi and Alabama.

Information related to the movement of nutrients through karst soils was outlined and disseminated during an invited talk to the Workshop on the Nature, Study, and Protection of Karst Resources presented to scientists and land managers from The Nature Conservancy along with state conservation officials from Kentucky and Tennessee.

In the current climate of public awareness of the environmental quality issues, the technology have unlimited durability. The greatest constraint to adaptation is the lack of adequate site specific and on-farm data for the sound scientific recommendation of a particular management practice.


7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
Participated in a field day organized by Auburn University, Extension Services on June 29, 2006 in Crossville, AL. The benefit of animal manure application and management on pasture and row crops were discussed with farmers, and extension agents.


Review Publications
Sistani, K.R., Tewolde, H., Adeli, A., Rowe, D.E. 2005. Substituting chemical fertilizers with poultry manure to reduce environmental impact. International Conference on Environmental Management. pp 305-309

Sistani, K.R., Adeli, A., Tewolde, H., Brink, G.E., Read, J.J., Owens, P. 2005. Mineralization of broiler litter nitrogen: laboratory incubation and field validation. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. Agronomy Abstracts, CD Nov 2005.

Read, J.J., Sistani, K.R., Brink, G.E., Rowe, D.E., Oldham, J.L. 2005. Effects of overseeding bermudagrass with annual ryegrass on removal of excess soil nutrients from broiler litter applications [abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. 2005 CDROM.

Adeli, A., Rowe, D.E., Sistani, K.R. 2006. Soil chemistry after fifteen years intensive applications of swine lagoon effluent [abstract]. In: Proceedings of World Congress of Soil Science, Frontiers of Soil Science, July 9-15, 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. p. 458.

Tewolde, H., Sistani, K.R., Rowe, D.E., Adeli, A. Time of application affects fertilizer potency of poultry litter. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. Agronomy Abstracts, CD Nov 2005.

Cook, K.L., Loughrin, J.H. 2006. Characterization of Skatole-Producing Microbial Populations in Enriched Swine Lagoon Slurry. Proceedings of the Workshop on Agricultural Air Quality: State of the Science. pp 547-551

Britt, J., Pike, A., Cook, K.L. The Western Kentucky University Johne’s Eradication Project. pgs 25-30

Loughrin, J.H. Comparison of solid phase micro-extraction techniques for the quantification of malodorous compounds in wastewater. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. Agronomy Abstracts CD

Cook, K.L., Britt, J., Pike, A. Evaluation of mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis survival in the environment. Conference on Gastrointestinal Function. Abstract CD-ROM

Cook, K.L. 2005. Detection of mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (map) in the environment. American Society for Microbiology Branch Meeting.

Bolster, C.H., Cook, K.L. 2006. Is escherichaia coli a good indicator of the transport of campylobacter jejuni in ground water environments. ASABE Annual International Meeting.

Cook, K.L., Bolster, C.H. 2006. Survival of campylobacter jejuni and escherichia coli in groundwater during prolonged exposure to low temperatures. American Society for Microbiology. (ISBN 1-55581-389-5)

Cook, K.L. 2006. Targeting mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in the environment. American Society for Microbiology.(ISBN 1-55581-389-5)

Brink, G.E., Sistani, K.R., Oldham, J.L., Pederson, G.A. 2006. Maturity effects on mineral concentration and uptake in annual ryegrass. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 29:1143-1155.

Rowe, D.E., Fairbrother, T.E., Sistani, K.R. 2006. Winter cover crop and management effects on summer and annual nutrient yields. Agronomy Journal. 98:946-950.

Loughrin, J.H., Szogi, A.A., Vanotti, M.B. Reduction of malodorous compounds from a treated swine anaerobic lagoon. Journal of Environmental Quality. 35:194-199.

Loughrin, J.H., Szogi, A.A. Free fatty acids and sterols in swine manure. Journal of Environmental Science and Health part B, 41:31-42, 2006

Bolster, C.H., Walker, S.L., Cook, K.L. 2006. Comparison of Escerichia coli and Camplobacter jejuni Transport in Saturated Porous Media. Journal of Environmental Quality. 35:1018-1025 (2006)

Tewolde, H., Sistani, K.R., Rowe, D.E. Nutrient accumulation in cotton fertilized with poultry litter. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. National Cotton Council, Memphis, TN. PP. 2056-2060.

Sistani, K.R., Mclaughlin, M.R. 2006. Soil nutrient dynamics from swine effluent application to common bermudagrass overseeded with cool-season annuals. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. 28:101-116.

Janaki, L., Cook, K.L., Berk, S.G. Interactions between mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis and protozoa isolated from a watering trough of a cow with johne's disease. American Society for Microbiology. CDROM

Adeli, A., Sistani, K.R., Tewolde, H., Rowe, D.E. 2005. Broiler litter effects on selected soil chemical properties under two contrasting management systems [abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. 2005 CD-ROM.

Pote, D.H., Way, T.R., Kingery, W.L., Aiken, G.E., Sistani, K.R., Han, F.X., Moore Jr, P.A. 2006. [CD-ROM] Incorporating poultry litter into perennial grassland to improve water quality. Proceedings of the Arkansas Water Research Center Conference.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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