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EFFECTIVENESS OF A PASSIVE FEEDLOT RUNOFF CONTROL SYSTEM USING A VEGETATIVE TREATMENT AREA FOR NITROGEN CONTROL

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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 21(4): 581-588. (doi: 10.13031/2013.18569) @2005
Authors:   B. L. Woodbury, J. A. Nienaber, R. A. Eigenberg
Keywords:   Feedlot runoff control, Vegetative treatment system, Electromagnetic Induction, Animal waste management

This study was initiated to investigate the effectiveness of a solids basin and vegetative treatment area (VTA) for nutrient control as a low-cost alternative to runoff holding ponds for cattle feedlots. The estimated total nitrogen load entering the VTA was equivalent to/or less than the total nitrogen load removed by the hay crop harvested from the VTA. No water was measured exiting the VTA, either by deep percolation or by direct release, during the four-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 VTA where salt and nutrient loading occurred. Soil analyses in these zones indicated that surface soil NO3-N 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 VTA soil. However, NO3-N appears to be infiltrating below the solids basin where concentrations as high as 60 mg NO3-N kg-1 soil were measured to a depth of 3 m. Annual removal of the solids and organic material from the solids basin may have compromised sealing of the basin. Seepage monitoring will continue in the near term.

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