Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2001
Publication Date: 11/1/2001
Citation: Lowrance, R.R., Newton, G.L., Vellidis, G. 2001. Nutrient transport from an animal production watershed. Soil Science Society of America Journal. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001. P. 379. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Animal production and manure use in Coastal Plain watersheds can cause water quality impairment due to nutrient enrichment. Impairment occurs due to activities on a field or farm scale but is generally evaluated on larger third or fourth order streams. We sampled in-stream water quality at multiple locations in a 270 ha headwater area and at the outlet of a 1600 ha watershed downstream. The headwater area contained beef, dairy, and swine production and manure application with estimated N and P loading rates of 150-300 kg N/ha/yr and 20-30 kg P/ha/yr, respectively, on a watershed basis. The rest of the 1600 ha watershed had very little animal production with estimated N and P loading rates less than one-tenth of those in the 270 ha headwater area. Streamflow nutrient concentrations were much higher from the headwater area than from the entire watershed. From the headwaters to the watershed outlet, attenuation and dilution reduced concentrations by a factor of 2.1 for total kjeldahl N; 2.9 for total P; 4.5 for ammonium-N; 6.5 for ortho-P; and 8.3 for nitrate-N. These results are consistent with data on nutrient attenuation in riparian ecosystems. The results suggest that downstream nutrient water quality can be maintained if intensive animal production and manure use is limited to a small portion of the watershed.