Design, Hydrologic Performance, and Effluent Characteristics Of A Woodchip Heavy-Use Area With Subsurface Drainage For Wintering Beef Cattle

Animal Manure Management November 06, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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Abstract

Benefits to cattle welfare and pasture condition from wintering or confining animals on woodchip heavy use areas have been reported elsewhere in the world, but no known installations of this Best Management Practice have occurred in the United States.  Furthermore, increasing environmental concern and regulatory scrutiny of winter feeding areas and other heavy use areas demand improved management of nutrient-laden runoff.  A pilot study was initiated to evaluate the environmental impact of such a woodchip heavy use area as a winter herd management method for a pasture-based beef operation in northern West Virginia.  A dosed vegetative treatment system was installed to treat drainage effluent.  Effluent volume was recorded and nutrient concentrations were monitored during three years of winter stocking.  Measured data and hydrologic performance of this system was used for a comparison to runoff and nutrient loadings from other types of open-lot systems.  While a degree of pollutant reduction and retention occurred during percolation through the woodchip media, low-cost control of effluent from such systems remains a challenge, as in similar open-lot situations.  Woodchip heavy use area and drainage system design specifications are also reported with adjusted design recommendations.  Results indicate what the potential for expanded application of these systems is and offer a baseline for continuing research of this relatively unexplored technology in the region and elsewhere.

Authors

Joshua  Faulkner, West Virginia University   jwfaulkner@mail.wvu.edu

John Miller, West Virginia University, Thomas Basden, West Virginia University

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.