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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: Use of a resistance meter to locate manure suitable for energy recovery in beef cattle feedyards

item Eigenberg, Roger
item Woodbury, Bryan

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2012
Publication Date: 8/1/2012
Citation: Eigenberg, R.A., Woodbury, B.L. 2012. Use of a resistance meter to locate manure suitable for energy recovery in beef cattle feedyards. In Proceedings: ASABE Annual International Meeting, Dallas, TX, July 29-Aug. 1, 2012. ASABE Paper No. 12-1338081. St. Joseph, Mich.:ASABE.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle feedyard pens accumulate large amounts of manure over the course of normal operations. Managing this manure can result in valuable opportunities for reclaiming the nutrients and/or energy contained in the manure. The manure is scattered over the entire pen surface with some areas receiving much higher concentrations than others. Methods are needed to know where to harvest the manure to recover the nutrients and energy. This paper describes a completely different method for measuring the depth of manure at locations in the pens. A set of four (8 inch long) probes were inserted into the soil at pre-selected spots in a pen. The spacing between these probes was increased according to a prescribed pattern allowing a central reader to give depth readings of the manure. This new method allows the depth of manure to be measured without drilling holes in the soil. The approach is simpler and doesn’t risk harming underground wiring and plumbing. These results are encouraging and more work is planned to further validate the effectiveness of the new monitoring system.

Technical Abstract: Mineral constituents, i.e., salts, contained in beef feedlot manure alter inherent soil conductivity. Researchers at USMARC have adapted tools such as electromagnetic soil conductivity meters and mapping/modeling software to identify areas where by manure accumulates on beef cattle feedlots. These tools combine to identify the spatial distribution of the manure for selective harvesting, creating a product of value for energy or nutrient recovery. However, electromagnetic soil conductivity meters poorly define soil profile conductivities. Thus, a question arises regarding the well-defined depth of manure within feedlot pens. Traditional methods of soil coring can be laborious, time-consuming, and costly as well as risky in areas containing buried water and electrical lines. Preliminary shallow soundings using a 4-probe resistivity meter have been conducted at a cattle feedlot. Associations of the shallow soundings with soil electrical conductivity (EC) values as well as profile plots are presented in this paper. This is an introductory report and examines the potential for future development and use of resistivity meters for cattle feedlot waste management research.

Last Modified: 08/20/2017
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