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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF NUTRIENTS FROM BEEF FEEDLOTS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT Title: Use of Electromagnetic Soil Surveys to Locate Areas of Nutrient Buildup

Authors
item Eigenberg, Roger
item Woodbury, Bryan
item Nienaber, John

Submitted to: American Society of Agri Engineers Special Meetings and Conferences Papers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2005
Publication Date: July 18, 2005
Citation: Eigenberg, R.A., Woodbury, B.L., Nienaber, J.A. 2005. Use of electromagnetic soil surveys to locate areas of nutrient buildup. American Society of Agri Engineers Special Meetings and Conferences Papers. Paper #054084.

Interpretive Summary: Nutrient management of cattle feedlots is a topic of increasing environmental, sociological, and regulatory concern. Buildup of nutrients on feedlot surfaces with associated gaseous emissions, as well as runoff and leaching potential, pose challenges for both producers and regulators. This paper considers measurement methods to discern feedlot surface nutrient distributions with methodologies to improve corresponding management. An electromagnetic induction soil conductivity meter was used to survey four feedlot pens at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Soil conductivity was mapped and conductivity zones were identified. Analyses of soil cores taken from each zone were determined. Preliminary results indicate good correlations between soil conductivity and associated volatile solids (organic matter associated with manure). Volatile solids are closely associated with other nutrients including total nitrogen and total phosphorus. Identifying areas of intense nutrient buildup holds the promise of site-specific management options, and a subsequent reduction of nutrient loss.

Technical Abstract: Nutrient management of cattle feedlots is a topic of increasing environmental, sociological, and regulatory concern. Buildup of nutrients on feedlot surfaces with associated gaseous emissions, as well as runoff and leaching potential, pose challenges for both producers and regulators. This paper considers spatial and temporal aspects of feedlot surface nutrient distributions with methodologies to improve feedlot surface management. An electromagnetic induction soil conductivity meter was used to survey four feedlot pens at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Soil conductivity was mapped and conductivity zones were identified. Analyses of soil cores from transects across each zone were determined. Preliminary results indicate correlations between apparent electroconductivity and associated volatile solids (r-squared = 0.77 for volatile solids). Volatile solids are closely associated with nutrients (r-squared= 0.92 for total N and r-squared = 0.80 for total P). Identifying areas of intense nutrient buildup holds the promise of site-specific management options, and a subsequent reduction of nutrient loss.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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