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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 4, p. 1279-1290
    Received: Oct 12, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): millerjj@agr.gc.ca
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Phosphorus and Nitrogen in Rainfall Simulation Runoff after Fresh and Composted Beef Cattle Manure Application

  1. Jim J. Miller *a,
  2. Edith C. S. Olsonb,
  3. David S. Chanasykc,
  4. Bruce W. Beasleya,
  5. Francis J. Larneya and
  6. Barry M. Olsond
  1. a Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4B1 Canada
    b Lethbridge Community College, 3000 College Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, T1K 1L6 Canada
    c Department of Renewable Resources, General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1 Canada
    d Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4V6 Canada


Fresh beef cattle (Bos taurus) manure has traditionally been applied to cropland in southern Alberta, but there has been an increase in application of composted manure to cropland in this region. However, the quality of runoff under fresh manure (FM) versus composted manure (CM) has not been investigated. Our objective was to compare runoff quality under increasing rates (0, 13, 42, 83 Mg ha−1 dry wt.) of FM and CM applied for two consecutive years to a clay loam soil cropped to irrigated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). We determined total phosphorus (TP), particulate phosphorus (PP), dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), total nitrogen (TN), NH4–N, and NO3–N concentrations and loads in runoff after one (1999) and two (2000) applications of FM and CM. We found significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher TP, DRP, and NH4–N concentrations, and higher DRP and TN loads under FM than CM after 2 yr of manure application. The TP loads were also higher under FM than CM at the 83 Mg ha−1 rate in 2000, and DRP loads were higher for FM than CM at this high rate when averaged over both years. Application rate had a significant effect on TP and DRP concentrations in runoff. In addition, the slope values of the regressions between TP and DRP in runoff versus application rate were considerably higher for FM in 2000 than for FM in 1999, and CM in both 1999 and 2000. Significant positive relationships were found for TP and DRP in runoff versus soil Kelowna-extractable P and soil water-extractable P for FM and CM in 2000, indicating that interaction of runoff with the soil controlled the release of P. Total P and DRP were the variables most affected by the treatments. Overall, our study found that application of CM rather than FM to cropland may lower certain forms of P and N in surface runoff, but this is dependent on the interaction with year, application rate, or both.

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