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Use of Electromagnetic Soil Surveys to Locate Areas of Nutrient Buildup

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

Citation:  Paper number  054084,  2005 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.19902) @2005
Authors:   Roger A. Eigenberg, Bryan L. Woodbury, John A. Nienaber
Keywords:   Electromagnetic induction, Feedlot, Nutrients, Volatile solids, Total nitrogen, Total phosphorus

Nutrient management of cattle feedlots is a topic of increasing environmental, sociological, and regulatory concern. Buildup of nutrients on feedlot surfaces with associated gaseous emissions, as well as runoff and leaching potential, pose challenges for both producers and regulators. This paper considers spatial and temporal aspects of feedlot surface nutrient distributions with methodologies to improve feedlot surface management. An electromagnetic induction soil conductivity meter was used to survey four feedlot pens at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Soil conductivity was mapped and conductivity zones were identified. Analyses of soil cores from transects across each zone were determined. Preliminary results indicate correlations between ECa and associated volatile solids (r2 = 0.77 for volatile solids). Volatile solids are closely associated with nutrients (r2 = 0.92 for total N and r2 = 0.80 for total P). Identifying areas of intense nutrient buildup holds the promise of site-specific management options, and a subsequent reduction of nutrient loss.

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