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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Heavy Metal Contaminants in Composts and Manures

Authors
item Chaney, Rufus
item Combs, S - UNIV WISCONSIN, MADISON
item Wattiaux, M - UNIV WISCONSIN, MADISON
item Reeves Iii, James

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 18, 2003
Publication Date: November 3, 2003
Citation: Chaney, R.L., Combs, S.M., Wattiaux, M.A., Reeves, III, J.B. 2003. Heavy metal contaminants in composts and manures [abstract]. Abstracts for the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy. Abstract No. S08-chaney742502-oral.

Technical Abstract: Cu, Zn and Se are commonly added to poultry and swine diets to stimulate development of immune response, to supplement feeds to attain dietary requirements or to supplant use of antibiotics (if used in quantities in excess of dietary requirements). In addition, arsenicals are routinely added to poultry diets and Cu is used intermittently for prevention of hoof rot in cattle. Nearly all of these additions end up in manure. Use of trace element supplements at high levels raises concerns that continued manure applications will cause soil accumulation of metals to levels which comprise risk to crop production or to livestock health. Sheep, very sensitive to high Cu levels, were fortunately not harmed from grazing on swine manure-amended soils because the bioavailability of manure Cu is reduced by interactions with other elements and organic matter. However there has been a rare case of phytotoxicity to Zn-sensitive peanut from applied swine manure when soil pH became extremely acidic. Results from surveys of microelement concentrations in dairy manure in the northeastern and midwestern US will be presented and compared with results from the literature. Cu and Zn in some manures exceed levels now common in biosolids. More consideration should be given to the potential increase in management costs from metals in manures compared to savings from supplementing diets with Cu, Zn or As levels above nutritional requirements.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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