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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Electromagnetic Induction Methods Applied to An Abandoned Manure handling Site to Determine Nutrient Buildup

Authors
item Eigenberg, Roger
item Nienaber, John

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2003
Publication Date: November 20, 2003
Citation: EIGENBERG, R.A., NIENABER, J.A. ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION METHODS APPLIED TO AN ABANDONED MANURE HANDLING SITE TO DETERMINE NUTRIENT BUILDUP. JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY. 2003. v. 32:1837-1843.

Interpretive Summary: Finding locations of soil with high nutrient levels resulting from manure handling can be difficult once a handling site is abandoned. Soil conductivity is measured with a tool using electromagnetic induction (EMI). Locations where manure was composted were confirmed based on site maps. The EMI signal was recorded along with a satellite signal to identify location and to form a map. Using this system, the soil maps showed areas of high nutrient conten that were the results of compost rows. Soil samples taken from the area showed higher levels of nitrate and chloride remaining in the soil beneath the rows compared to soil between the rows. The use of EMI for mapping areas with a history of livestock manure handling has successfully shown the capability to locate high nutrient content areas.

Technical Abstract: Movement of nutrients from livestock manure handling sites has the potential to negatively impact the environment. This study was conducted to determine whether electromagnetic induction (EMI) could be used to identify regions of nutrient build-up beneath an abandoned compost site. A trailer mounted EM-38, coupled with a global positioning satellite system, was towed across an area used for composting of feedlot manure. The resulting maps gave clear identification of the composting rows. The identified rows were cored and compared with the region between the rows. The rows demonstrated significantly greater soluble salts (1.6 times greater), NO3-N (6.0 times greater), and Cl (2.0 times greater) compared to the area between the rows to a 1.5m depth (P<0.05). The use of EMI for mapping of sites having a history of livestock waste application was effective in identifying high nutrient buildup areas.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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