2010 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.
Revisions on the Arkansas Phosphorus Index were finalized. This research, which was supported by Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has been ongoing during the last five years. This index became Arkansas State law on Jan. 1, 2010, and will be used to write nutrient management plans for pastures fertilized with poultry litter, swine manure, dairy manure, and biosolids. The data used to revise the index was from over 1,000 rainfall simulations conducted by the ARS unit at Fayetteville, AR.
Research on treating biosolids (sewage sludge) with water treatment residuals (alum sludge) was also completed during the past year. This work, which was conducted in conjunction with an investigator of the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Arkansas, was funded by an EPA 319 grant through Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Rainfall simulation and small watershed studies showed that the addition of water treatment residuals to biosolids results in a significant reduction in phosphorus runoff.
The main focus of our research during the past year has been on pathogen runoff. The pathogens being monitored include Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7. Indicator organisms (E. coli and Enteroccocci) were also measured in runoff to determine if their presence is strongly correlated to pathogen numbers in runoff. This research, which was funded in part by an NRI grant, is being conducted on both small plots and at the field scale. Rainfall simulations were conducted on small plots cropped to tall fescue to evaluate the effects of poultry litter application rates, manure treatments (composting, deep stacking, and alum addition), and season 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:.
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. Phosphorus, nitrogen, and metal runoff are also being evaluated from the 28 watersheds.
A new method for scrubbing ammonia from air exhausted from poultry houses. During the past year we re-designed the ammonia scrubber that was patented by our group a couple of years ago, and tested the efficacy of several different chemicals in capturing ammonia in the exhaust air from poultry houses. The mass of nitrogen captured using each chemical was evaluated, as well as the pH of the scrubbing solution. This research led to the development of a new method for capturing ammonia in the exhaust air from animal rearing facilities. This captured nitrogen can be utilized by growers for fertilizing row crops or pastures. An invention disclosure has been filed, and we hope to patent this new technology in the future.
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Scientists have participated in activities targeting veterans, minorities and historically underserved small farmers including:.
1)serving as Principal Investigator on a SARE grant in cooperation with the ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, Booneville AR; The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Poteau, OK; NCAT, Fayetteville, AR; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, as well as several small poultry producers in Arkansas;.
2)serving as a co-investigator on a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program NIFA grant on a project that provides bilingual English and Spanish whole-farm learning and experiential opportunities for new farmers interested in adopting integrated poultry, small ruminant, and agroforestry production practices, cooperating with the Booneville Unit, the Kerr Center, NCAT ,and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and Pine Bluff (the 1890 institution for the State of Arkansas); and.
3)the Unit partnered with ARS laboratories at Lane, OK; Booneville, AR;and El Reno, OK, to develop and staff an exhibit for the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Conference and Gala Dinner in El Reno in July 2010. The Conference was attended by over 200 persons, the majority being small- to mid-sized farmers, institutional food professionals, and extension or outreach specialists.