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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING FORAGE-BASED COW-CALF OPERATIONS TO IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY OF BEEF CATTLE AGRICULTURE AND WATER QUALITY PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Impacts of mixed farms on water quality of Pinhal River sub-basin, Santa Catarina

Authors
item Palhares, Julio -
item Guidoni, A -
item Mulinari, M -
item Sigua, Gilbert

Submitted to: Arquivos de Zootecnia Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The projection for Brazilian meat industry is expected to provide strong growth in coming years. From 2009 to 2020, poultry industry is expected to grow by 3.64% annually. Beef industry is projected to grow by 2.15% while swine industry by 2.0% annually. Recent study of the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry shows that the country will be able to maintain its leadership as the main exporter of beef, poultry, and pork. However, Brazil has environmental legislation that control agriculture, livestock, water, soil, and forest, but few farms have environmental licenses or permit to operate. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of mixed farms on water quality in Pinhal River sub-basin, which is located in Concordia, Santa Catarina State. Eight sampling sites representing different land-uses (LU1- dairy cattle; LU2- without animals; LU3- dairy + pigs + poultry + crops; LU4– pigs + poultry + crops; LU5– dairy + pigs + poultry + crops + human; LU6 – dairy + pigs + crops; LU7 and LU8- dairy + pigs) were evaluated. There were higher concentrations of TSS, NO3-N and NO2-N in wet season. Areas with the highest animal stocking density had the highest concentrations of nitrate. This demonstrates the need to make the correct management of waste as fertilizer and promote the use of treatment technologies that reduce nutrients loads and dependence on the soil. Results showed a strong relationship between the sources of pollution (e.g., cows, pigs and poultries) and water quality. Managing the use of animal manure with optimum chemical fertilizer applications along with riparian fencing may provide important mitigation options for protecting water quality of Pinhal River. Brazil needs to improve legislations that promote a national education program in animal waste management and implement environmental monitoring programs at local, regional, and national levels.

Technical Abstract: Brazil is one of the largest producers of food in the world. Agriculture and livestock production are concentrated in certain regions of the country. Livestock has been perceived as a constant threat to the quantity and quality of water resources. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of mixed farms on water quality in Pinhal River sub-basin, which is located in Concordia, Santa Catarina State. Eight sampling sites representing different land-uses (LU1- dairy cattle; LU2- without animals; LU3- dairy + pigs + poultry + crops; LU4– pigs + poultry + crops; LU5– dairy + pigs + poultry + crops + human; LU6 – dairy + pigs + crops; LU7 and LU8- dairy + pigs) were evaluated. These sampling sites were assessed and sampled during the summer, spring, autumn, and winter of 2006 to 2009. LU1 presented the worst water quality with high concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) and chemical oxygen demand. At this point, cows had access to the river. The highest concentration of nitrate (NO3-N) was found at the mouth of the river. There were higher concentrations of TSS, NO3-N and NO2-N in wet season. At this time, intensive fertilizer application to cornfields is common. Autumn and winter had the worst water quality with respect to nitrogen concentration. Results showed a strong relationship between the sources of pollution (e.g., cows, pigs and poultries) and water quality. Managing the use of animal manure with optimum chemical fertilizer applications along with riparian fencing may provide important mitigation options for protecting water quality of Pinhal River.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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