Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2011
Publication Date: 9/18/2011
Citation: Scholl, B.N., Holt, G.A., Thornton, C.I. 2011. Screening study of select cotton-based hydromulch blends produced using the cross-linked biofiber process. In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Erosion and Landscape Evolution, September 18-21, 2011, Anchorage, AK. 8p. ASABE Publication 711P0311cd. 2011 CDROM. Interpretive Summary: This was the initial study evaluating various recipe blends of processed agricultural residues such as wheat straw and hay grazer blended with processed cotton gin byproducts (i.e. sticks and burs) in the manufacture of a hydromulch. Eleven hydromulch blends were produced and applied to a clay loam soil in a 2' x 10' tray. Three trays at a time were subjected to 6-in/hr rain with the trays positined on a 2:1 slope. All mulches were compared to a commercially available hydromulch used on slopes of 3:1 or greater. Results indicate three blends that were the same as the control. One of the blends, Cotton Stalks, was removed from consideration due to the large variation in performance. The two blends that remained will be refined and evaluated in greater detail in the follow-up study.
Technical Abstract: As global populations continue to expand, stresses placed on our renewable resources are increasing. Disturbance of native landscapes from agriculture, urbanization, or by natural evolution brings the potential for soil erosion caused by normal rain events. Increasing regulatory pressure has resulted in a need for methods and tools permitting disturbed soil to be protected from the effects of soil and wind erosion both quickly and effectively. Research has shown that hydromulch containing specific blends of cotton, mixed with other agricultural byproducts, is very effective in not only providing protection to a soil surface prior to the establishment of vegetation, but also a nutrient rich medium to stimulate germination. In an effort to efficiently evaluate the potential of utilizing the Cross-Linked Biofiber Process to incorporate low value biomass byproducts into an effective hydraulic mulch blend, a research program was conducted in conjunction with the USDA and Colorado State University. Following the construction of a rainfall test facility, a series of unique hydromulch blends containing various biomass components was tested under controlled rainfall intensities. Biomass components included material derived from cotton, wheat, hay grazer and other agricultural residues. In addition, a popular commercially available hydro-mulch used on slopes of 3:1 or greater was used as a control. Utilizing data collected during the test program, an analysis of the soil and organic content of runoff collected was conducted and blend constituents evaluated for their effectiveness in providing protection against rainfall induced soil erosion. Dunnett’s multiple range and Kruskal-Wallis statistical tests were used to evaluate results and eliminate treatments not significantly different from the control. Of eleven treatments evaluated, three were not significantly different from the control in soil runoff, organic runoff, and total runoff. Two treatments were selected for further research and development. This paper presents a discussion of the test facility, test conditions, and a preliminary assessment of each biomass component's performance in soil and organics runoff reduction.