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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Ecological Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment of Unsuitable Winter Conditions for Manure and Nutrient Application across Ontario


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 31-43
    Received: Nov 16, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): gparkin@uoguelph.ca
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  1. D. J. Fallow,
  2. D. M. Brown,
  3. J. D. Lauzon and
  4. G. W. Parkin *
  1. Dep. of Land Resource Science, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1


Practical guidelines addressing the timing of manure and nutrient application must consider the concerns of the farm operators while ensuring the protection of the environment. An approach was developed and analyzed through case studies to determine the first recommended day in the spring, and the last in the fall, for manure and nutrient application based on probability analysis. Since most manure and nutrient application guidelines recommend avoiding adverse conditions, the three criteria established to perform a risk assessment were: (i) a frost depth greater than 0.05 m; (ii) a snow accumulation of greater than 0.05 m; and (iii) a soil volumetric water content greater than or equal to that of the plastic limit for the soil. Climatic data and typical soil information for seven locations in Ontario were used to model volumetric soil water contents, frost depths, and snow accumulation from the simultaneous heat and water (SHAW) model for a 48-yr period (1954–2001). Applying the three criteria to the modeled output, the average range between the least limiting probability (0.1, or one in ten year occurrence) and the greatest limiting probability (0.001, or one in one thousand year occurrence) analyzed among the locations was 16 d in the spring as compared to 29 d in the fall. Although geographical location affected the predicted spring start and fall end recommended manure and nutrient application dates, local climate and soil hydraulic properties also played an important part in the determination of these days. Overall the prediction method developed performed reasonably well and provided insight into the environmental factors influencing manure and nutrient application timing.

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