Manure runoff depends on soil texture

March 29, 2011

Research has documented the rise of nutrient runoff from flat agricultural fields with high rates of precipitation that adds nitrates and phosphates to waterways.

These nutrients increase the amount of phytoplankton in the water, which depletes oxygen and kills fish and other aquatic creatures. While injecting animal manure slurry into the soil has been proven to be an effective way of reducing , there has been no research on the possibility of nutrients leaching from the soil and reaching waterways.

A collaborative study funded by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries was carried out between University of Copenhagen and University of Aarhus, Denmark, to investigate the influence of dairy slurry on leaching of manure nutrient components.

Loamy sand, a sandy loam, and loam were the three sub soil textures beneath the plow layer. Bromide was mixed into the slurry to represent dissolved nonreactive solutes like nitrate. The experiments were performed under low precipitation intensity andnear-saturated conditions. Researchers analyzed the leaching of the bromide as well as particulate and dissolved phosphorus.

The results indicated that the slurry injected into the loam soil reduced leaching; however, there was no effect on bromide leaching in the sandy loam or loamy sand. The loamy sand also showed no difference in phosphorus leaching, but a reduction was noted in the sandy loam and the loam.

Nadia Glæsner, who conducted the study, said, "This highlights the importance of texture when evaluating agricultural management strategies for reducing nutrient losses from . Injection of dairy slurry might reduce leaching of nonreactive slurry components and phosphorus from fine-textured soils, but the effect was not seen on coarse-textured soils."

The full study is published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Explore further: Farms, Fertilizers and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Related Stories

Is biochar the answer for ag?

August 2, 2010

Scientists demonstrate that biochar, a type charcoal applied to soils in order to capture and store carbon, can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, and inorganic nitrogen runoff from agriculture settings. ...

Improving swine waste fertilizer

July 8, 2008

Swine production generates large amounts of waste. While this waste contains nutrients that may serve as fertilizer when applied to agricultural fields, the ratio of nutrients in the waste is different than what a crop requires.

Tracking phosphorus runoff from livestock manure

June 14, 2010

Nutrient runoff from livestock manure is a common source of agricultural pollution. Looking for an uncommon solution, a team of scientists has developed an application of rare earth elements to control and track runoff phosphorus ...

Can hemp help the everglades?

August 6, 2007

Within Southern Florida, soil and water conditions indicate potential for leaching from the use of atrazine-based herbicides in corn crops. Scientists from USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Florida ...

Recommended for you

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

December 8, 2016

Pioneering work being carried out in a cave in New Mexico by researchers at McMaster University and The University of Akron, Ohio, is changing the understanding of how antibiotic resistance may have emerged and how doctors ...

New studies take a second look at coral bleaching culprit

December 7, 2016

Scientists have called superoxide out as the main culprit behind coral bleaching: The idea is that as this toxin build up inside coral cells, the corals fight back by ejecting the tiny energy- and color-producing algae living ...

Cosmic dust found in city rooftop gutters

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers with Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum in London, Project Stardust in Norway and Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, has found samples of cosmic dust in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.