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Sustainability of a Passive Feedlot Runoff Control System Using a Vegetative Filter Strip for Nutrient Control

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032269,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14973) @2003
Authors:   B.L. Woodbury, J.A. Nienaber, R.A. Eigenberg
Keywords:   Feedlot runoff control, Waste management, Waste treatment, Nutrient management

Producers are looking for more cost-effective alternatives for controlling feedlot runoff. However, regulating agencies need to know these alternatives will protect the environment. As a result, a passive runoff control and treatment system was designed to provide solid separation and eliminate long-term liquid storage. This study was initiated to investigate the sustainability of a debris basin and vegetative filter strip (VFS) for nutrient control. The estimated total nitrogen load entering the VFS was equivalent to or less than the total nitrogen load removed by the crop. No water was measured exiting the VFS, either by deep percolation or by direct release, during the three-year study period. As a result, the discharge water from the basin was effectively used for hay crop production. Electromagnetic induction maps were produced to illustrate zones within the VFS where salt and nutrient loading occurred. Soil analysis in these zones indicated that surface soil nitratenitrogen levels, particularly closest to the discharge tubes, had increased. Currently nitrogen is contained near the surface, and has not started to infiltrate deeper into the VFS soil. However, nitrate-nitrogen appears to be infiltrating below the debris basin where concentrations as high as 60 mg NO3-N kg-1soil were measured to a depth of three meters. Annual removal of the solids and organic material from the debris basin may have compromised sealing of the basin. Continued evaluation of the potential seepage is planned.

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