Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Animals Within Southern Piedmont Landscapes: Nutrient Balances

Authors
item Steiner, Jean
item Fisher, Dwight
item Stuedemann, John
item Endale, Dinku
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Schomberg, Harry
item Franklin, Dorcas
item Harper, Lowry
item Sharpe, Ronald

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Animal production dominates farm-gate receipts in the Southern Piedmont region of the USA. Intensive, confined animal systems provide the largest income, with poultry proudction predominant in some states and swine production in others. Many confined operations are located on small family farms under contract with vertically integrated companies. Feed imported from the midwestern USA brings large quantities of nutrients, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) into the region. Manure from confined animal systems is often applied to pastures as fertilizer. The nutrient balance in manure is not proportional to requirements of plants that extract nutrients from soils, leading to accumulation of some nutrients, such as P. Some heavy metals also accumulate in soil and can become toxic to organisms. Nutrient distribution within grazed landscapes is affected by animal movement and behavior. Areas where cattle "loaf" (near water or in shade in summer) accumulate nutrients from urine and feces. Nutrient enriched areas of pastures and housing, feeding, and manure storage areas can become sources of N, P, and C moving into streams and other water bodies, flowing through soils, percolating laterally to springs, or in runoff. Elevated nutrient levels in water can reduce dissolved oxygen below the level needed to support healthy aquatic communities. Nurtients are also transported atmospherically from heavy concentration areas, as gaseous ammonia and particulate ammonium aerosols. Our paper will review nutrient budgets for animal systems in the Southern Piedmont, identify environmental problems associated with current practices, and suggest strategies to minimize negative environmental impacts while maintaining farm-gate income.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page