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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2009 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Determine the factors that affect P chemistry and transport in soil, water and manure..
2)Determine the long-term impacts of manure management strategies at animal production operations, manure storage areas and pasture application sites on soil, water and air resources..
3)Develop and evaluate management practices and decision tools to limit nutrient (N and P), pathogen and pharmaceutically active compound pollution of surface waters. 3a) Determine the factors that influence surface runoff within watersheds..
4)Determine ammonia emission rates from manure at animal production operations, manure storage areas and pasture application sites; develop management practices and control technologies to reduce ammonia losses..
5)Determine the sources and occurrence of nutrients, organic wastewater compounds, pathogens and antibiotic residuals at the watershed scale.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Both long-term and short-term studies will be conducted. A long-term study (13 years) will be conducted on the impacts of various pasture management strategies (over grazing, rotational grazing, haying, etc.) on pasture hydrology, nutrient runoff, soil erosion and forage production. The results of this study will be utilized to revise the Arkansas Phosphorus (P) Index. Another long-term study (7 years) will be conducted to determine the effects of pasture renovation and litter incorporation on P runoff, ammonia emissions and forage yields. Ammonia emissions will also be measured from commercial broiler houses and on land following manure application. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop cost-effective best management practices (BMPs) for poultry manure management which improve air and water quality.

3.Progress Report
Research on pathogen runoff from fields fertilized with animal manure was initiated on both small plots and at the field scale. This work is funded by an NRI grant. Rainfall simulations were conducted on 24 small plots cropped to tall fescue to evaluate the effects of poultry litter application rates, manure treatments (composting, deep stacking, and alum addition), and weather on pathogen runoff. Pathogen runoff was also measured from 28 small watersheds equipped with automatic water samplers to determine the effect of various best management practices, land use, and landscape position on pathogen transport from small watersheds. The treatments being evaluated in the field studies include:.
1)grazing/pasture management,.
2)poultry litter application methods,.
3)chemical treatment of litter with alum,.
4)runoff type (sub-surface flow vs. overland flow),.
5)treating biosolids with water treatment residuals, and.
6)different landscape positions and flow pathways. The pathogens being monitored include Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli 0157:H7. Indicator organisms (E. coli and Enteroccocci) were also measured in runoff in order to assess the viability of using indicators for the presence of specific pathogens present in runoff water from fields fertilized with manure. Phosphorus, nitrogen and metal runoff are also being evaluated from the 28 watersheds. A substantial amount of time was spent on revising the Arkansas Phosphorus Index. This project, which was funded by U.S. EPA and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, has been ongoing for the past four years. Over 1,000 rainfall simulations have been conducted to evaluate the effects of various phosphorus sources (poultry litter, swine manure, dairy manure, biosolids, and commercial fertilizers) on phosphorus runoff from pastures. This work was a collaborative effort with all the natural resource agencies in Arkansas (over 50 people from different agencies and private companies). The revision to the phosphorus index was completed and has been presented to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Later this year it will be presented before the Arkansas Legislature, who is expected to codify it into state law by early 2010. This index will regulate the amount of poultry litter, swine manure, dairy manure, and biosolids applied to a given fields in Arkansas. Research on treating biosolids (sewage sludge) with water treatment residuals (alum sludge) was also conducted during the past year. This work is funded by an EPA 319 grant. This research involves measuring phosphorus and metal runoff from small plots fertilized with biosolids using rainfall simulators. Phosphorus runoff was also evaluated from three small watersheds. Although the main objective of this work was to determine if water treatment residuals could substantially reduce phosphorus runoff from biosolids, the runoff data was also used to revise the phosphorus index.

1. Revised the Arkansas Phosphorus Index: Phosphorus runoff from animal manures and biosolids can lead to water quality problems in rivers and lakes. Currently in the U.S. most states use a phosphorus index to determine how much manure should be applied to each field. In order to revise the Arkansas Phosphorus Index, over 1,000 rainfall simulations were conducted over a three-year period. Phosphorus runoff from plots fertilized with poultry litter, swine manure, dairy manure, biosolids, or commercial fertilizer was evaluated as a function of the soil test phosphorus levels and the amount of water soluble phosphorus in the fertilizer. These data were used to develop the revised Arkansas Phosphorus Index. This was a cooperative effort involving over 50 people from all of the natural resource agencies in Arkansas, who met several dozen times over a three year period. The impact of this index will be substantial, since it will be used to determine all manure and biosolids application rates in the future.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Invention Disclosures Submitted1

Review Publications
Choi, I.H., Moore Jr, P.A. 2008. Effects of liquid aluminum chloride additions to poultry litter on broiler performance, ammonia emissions, soluble phosphorus, total volatile fatty acids, and nitrogen contents of litter. Poultry Science. 87(10):1955-1963.

Choi, I.H., Moore Jr, P.A. 2008. Effect of various litter amendments on ammonia volatilization and nitrogen content of poultry litter. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 17(4):454-462.

Pote, D.H., Way, T.R., Sistani, K.R., Moore Jr, P.A. 2009. Water-quality effects of a mechanized subsurface-banding technique for applying poultry litter to perennial grassland. Journal of Environmental Management. 90(11):3534-3539.

Last Modified: 3/4/2015
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