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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Manure Nutrients, Environmental Contaminants, and Energy From Cattle and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Vegetated treatment system design and monitoring at two large CAFO beef feedlots in Nebraska

item Powers, Crystal
item Henry, C
item Walkowiak, R
item Gross, J
item George, John
item Gustafson, Kevin
item Burns, Robert
item Woodbury, Bryan
item Eigenberg, Roger

Submitted to: International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/28/2010
Publication Date: 9/13/2010
Citation: Powers, C.A., Henry, C.G., Walkowiak, R., Gross, J., George, J.A., Gustafson, K.D., Burns, R.T., Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A. 2010. Vegetated treatment system design and monitoring at two large CAFO beef feedlots in Nebraska. In: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. International Symposium on Air Quality and Manure Management for Agriculture, September 13-16, 2010, Dallas, Texas. 2010 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A Vegetated Treatment System (VTS) is an alternative to full containment of runoff for managing open lot runoff. As part of a multi-state effort to determine VTS alternative performance standards for large beef Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, two sites in Nebraska were constructed and monitored for two years to determine performance. Feedlot #1 has 1700 head on 11.8 acres which gravity flows onto 9.5 acres of VTA and utilizes a settling bench for solids retention. Feedlot #2 has 1200 head on 11.8 acres of lots that drain into four settling basins, from which the runoff is pumped onto 11 acres, separated into eight distribution areas. VTA runoff is collected and returned to the settling basins. The VTAs are hayed once each summer to remove nutrients. ISCO water samplers were installed on each site and recorded water flow onto and off of the VTA’s and samples were taken to determine nutrient concentrations of these flows. At feedlot #1, during 2008, 44,133 m3 of VTA discharge was recorded (10,904 kg N; 9,064 kg P). The following year, with an established grass stand and lower rainfall, 2,581 m3 was discharged (975 kg N; 768 kg P). At feedlot #2, in 2008, 26,795 m3 of lot runoff were applied to the VTAs (1,496 kg N, 46.9lb/ac-in; 1,053 kg P). Haying removed 865 kg N and 134 kg P. During 2009, 9,356 m3 was applied with a 76% reduction in the VTA runoff volume (-78% N, -80% P). The nutrient concentrations in the feedlot runoff water pumped onto the VTA did not show any trends based on the volume pumped out of the basins. The volume of VTA runoff is linearly related to the mass of the runoff nutrients indicating that infiltration is the primary mechanism for nutrient reductions. At both sites vegetation stand establishment and soil infiltration were critical to VTS performance and increased throughout the sampling period.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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