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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #152847


item Gilley, John
item Eghball, Bahman

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2002
Publication Date: 6/1/2002
Citation: Gilley, J.E., Risse, L.M., Eghball, B. 2002. Managing runoff following manure application. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 57:530-533

Interpretive Summary: Excessive runoff should be avoided on areas where manure has been applied since some of the constituents in runoff may cause environmental concerns. The principal elements affecting runoff are rainfall characteristics, soil factors, climate and land use. The quantity of runoff that occurs from a given region is influence by the total amount, timing, and intensity of rainfall. One of the most effective means of reducing runoff is to maintain high infiltration rates. Areas with a complete ground cover usually have high infiltration rates and are least susceptible to runoff. Conservation tillage, contouring and strip cropping, terraces, and vegetated waterways have all been used to reduce runoff, control erosion, decrease nutrient transport, and provide wildlife habitat. The method and timing of manure application should be adjusted to reduce the amounts of constituents transported in runoff.

Technical Abstract: Rainfall patterns, soil factors, topography, climate and land use may all influence runoff. To minimize environmental concerns, excessive runoff should be avoided on areas where manure has been applied. Management practices used to control runoff include contouring, strip cropping, conservation tillage, terraces and buffer strips. In some cases, secondary containment systems, sedimentation basins, or ponds may be necessary to collect runoff. More than one runoff control practice may be necessary for protection in areas with high runoff potential. Soil properties including infiltration may be improved by manure application. The method, rate and timing of manure application should be considered to reduce environmental impacts. The transport of nutrients and pathogens by overland flow is influenced by manure characteristics, loading rates, incorporation and the time between manure addition and the first rainfall. Through proper management, manure can serve as a valuable nutrient source and soil amendment without causing environmental concerns.