Location: Environmental Management Research
2010 Annual Report
ARS scientists developed a runoff control system that reduced long-term liquid storage and evenly distributed basin discharge for hay production. The nutrients contained in the solids were removed from the basin annually. The remaining nutrients and basin discharge water were distributed to a vegetative area for hay production. The sustainability of the system has been demonstrated since nutrients are removed from the system in the harvested hay in amounts equivalent to the amount added from the basin discharge. Managing vegetative treatment systems (VTS) required understanding of nutrient distribution. Soil conductivity maps measured by electromagnetic induction (EMI) provided valuable insights into water distribution. A technique was developed using EMI to identify optimal soil sampling locations. This soil information was combined with EMI data to produce nutrient specific predictive models, enabling producers to adjust nutrient distribution and improve overall performance and sustainability. This information was used to develop many VTS demonstration sites across the northern plain states. Refinement of the application of EMI to monitor nutrient distribution may continue.
Common emission measures provide estimates over large areas; however, they cannot provide insight at the pen surface or provide a measure of mitigation management practices. Techniques were developed incorporating subsurface measures combined with strategically located calibration samples to identify zones of manure accumulation. This technique provided detailed information on contaminant concentrations and distribution on the pen surface. Also, maps and statistical benchmarks were established for evaluating management practices. This information allowed the development of precision management practices that mitigate emissions and protect the environment. Additionally, preliminary data indicated the ability to identify zones that could be harvested for energy recovery, improving the value up to eight times the nutrient value as when harvested as a soil amendment. This technique has become a valuable tool for studies investigating gas emissions from pen surfaces and is being developed to measure the energy content of manure. Both of these projects will continue during the next project period. The prevalence of both Escherichia coli O157 and Campylobacter spp through a VTS was examined. Pathogens have been recovered from soils, basin sludge, and basin water. Without additional inputs from the basin, isolation frequencies of E. coli O157 and Campylobacter spp. from VTS soils decreased over time. Isolation of generic E. coli from fresh-cut hay from regions of the VTS that received runoff indicates some contamination risk. E. coli O157 was isolated from only one of 30 treatment samples prior to baling. Pathogens were recovered from hay following baling. This project will continue during the next project.
Woodbury, B.L., Lesch, S.M., Eigenberg, R.A., Miller, D.N., Spiehs, M.J. 2009. Electromagnetic Induction Sensor Data to Identify Areas of Manure Accumulation on a Feedlot Surface. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 73(6):2068-2077.
Gilley, J.E., Berry, E.D., Eigenberg, R.A., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2009. Nutrient and Bacterial Transport in Runoff from Soil and Pond Ash Amended Feedlot Surfaces. Transactions of the ASABE. 52(6):2077-2085.
Berry, E.D., Wells, J., Arthur, T.M., Woodbury, B.L., Nienaber, J.A., Brown Brandl, T.M., Eigenberg, R.A. 2010. Soil Versus Pond Ash Surfacing of Feedlot Pens: Occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Cattle and Persistence in Manure. Journal of Food Protection. 73(7):1269-1277.
Gilley, J.E., Berry, E.D., Eigenberg, R.A., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2010. Nutrient Transport in Runoff from Feedlots as Affected by Wet Distiller's Grain Diet. Transactions of the ASABE. 53(2):545-552.