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A promising and simple method to quantify soil/manure mixing on beef feedlot pens

Pratt, Chris and Redding, Matthew and Hill, Jaye (2015) A promising and simple method to quantify soil/manure mixing on beef feedlot pens. Animal Production Science .

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN14771

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AN14771

Abstract

On beef cattle feed pen surfaces, fresh and decayed manure is mixed with base rock or soil (base). Quantifying this mixing has beneficial applications for aspects including nutrient and greenhouse gas budgeting. However, no practical methods exist to quantify mixing. We investigated if measuring element concentrations in: (A) fresh manure, (B) base material, and (C) pen manure offers a promising method to quantify manure/base mixing on pen surfaces. Using three operational beef feedlots as study sites, we targeted carbon (C), and silicon (Si), which are the two most abundant and easily measurable organic and inorganic elements. Our results revealed that C concentrations were strongly (>15 times) and significantly (P < 0.05) higher whereas Si concentrations strongly (>10 times) and significantly (P < 0.01) lower in fresh manure than base material at all three sites. These relative concentrations were not significantly impacted by manure decay, as determined by an 18-week incubation experiment. This suggested that both of these elements are suitable markers for quantifying base/manure mixing on pens. However, due to the chemical change of manure during decay, C was shown to be an imprecise marker of base/manure mixing. By contrast, using Si to estimate base/manure mixing was largely unaffected by manure decay. These findings were confirmed by measuring C and Si concentrations in stockpiled pen surface manure from one of the sites. Using Si concentrations is a promising approach to quantify base/manure mixing on feed pens given that this element is abundantly concentrated in soils and rocks.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:State of Queenland copyright
Keywords:beef cattle, carbon, feedlots, manure, rock, silicon, soil.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Farm economics. Farm management. Agricultural mathematics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural structures. Farm buildings
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Housing and environmental control
Deposited On:09 Feb 2016 02:29
Last Modified:06 Apr 2016 02:31

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