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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 5, p. 1591-1599
    Received: Sept 6, 2011
    Published: September 14, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): agarcia@agro.uba.ar
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Field-Scale Evaluation of Water Fluxes and Manure Solution Leaching in Feedlot Pen Soils

  1. Ana R. García *a,
  2. Roberto Maisonnaveb,
  3. Marcelo J. Massobrioc and
  4. Alicia R. Fabrizio de Iorioa
  1. a Dep. de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires (UBA), Avda. San Martín 4453, Buenos Aires 14l7DSE, Argentina
    b Environmental Engineering Supervisor, Seaboard Foods, 121 North Main, Hennessey, OK 73742
    c Dep. de Ingeniería Agrícola y Uso de la Tierra, Facultad de Agronomía, Univ. de Buenos Aires (UBA), Avda. San Martín 4453, Buenos Aires 14l7DSE, Argentina. Assigned to Associate Editor Robert Malone


Accumulation of beef cattle manure on feedlot pen surfaces generates large amounts of dissolved solutes that can be mobilized by water fluxes, affecting surface and groundwater quality. Our objective was to examine the long-term impacts of a beef cattle feeding operation on water fluxes and manure leaching in feedlot pens located on sandy loam soils of the subhumid Sandy Pampa region in Argentina. Bulk density, gravimetric moisture content, and chloride concentration were quantified. Rain simulation trials were performed to estimate infiltration and runoff rates. Using chloride ion as a tracer, profile analysis techniques were applied to estimate the soil moisture flux and manure conservative chemical components leaching rates. An organic stratum was found over the surface of the pen soil, separated from the underlying soil by a highly compacted thin layer (the manure–soil interface). The soil beneath the organic layer showed greater bulk density in the A horizon than in the control soil and had greater moisture content. Greater concentrations of chloride were found as a consequence of the partial sealing of the manure–soil interface. Surface runoff was the dominant process in the feedlot pen soil, whereas infiltration was the main process in control soil. Soil moisture flux beneath pens decreased substantially after 15 yr of activity. The estimated minimum leaching rate of chloride was 13 times faster than the estimated soil moisture flux. This difference suggests that chloride ions are not exclusively transported by advective flow under our conditions but also by solute diffusion and preferential flow.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.