Small Plot Study On The Impact Of Grazing Animals On Nutrient Losses to Water

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Resource or Project Abstract

The data presented in this report clearly show that the null
hypothesis ?the presence of cattle does not influence the
quantity or quality of overland flow produced at a site? must be rejected. At the sites studied here, the presence of cattle led to
physical changes in the topsoil. These changes favoured the occurrence of overland flow and altered the natural
drainage characteristics of the soil. They persisted over
the winter period when the animals were housed.
Recovery of the soil did, however, occur when cattle were
excluded from areas over the growing season.
The effect of cattle on the quality of overland flow could
not be detected before the start of the grazing season, but
was measurable in a number of water quality parameters
after the first grazing cycle. The presence of grazing
animals led to increased concentrations of particulate N,
of dissolved and particulate organic and condensed P
fractions and of K in overland flow.
The data presented here also show that urea application
in spring was followed by enhanced levels of TDN, TON
and TA in overland flow. There is evidence to suggest that
the urea application triggered a surge in microbial activity
and thus led to an enhanced release of organic and
condensed forms of P from soil to overland flow.
This study adds to the body of knowledge on the impacts
of agricultural management practices on soil hydrology
and the quality of overland flow from agricultural land. The
findings underline the importance of interactions between
management practices, nutrients in soil and soil biology
for the release of nutrients to drainage water.
The resistance to penetration at high SM is largely affected by BD and soil texture. Developing soil-texturespecific time-consuming measurement of RP at high SM.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Isabelle Kurz
Teagasc Johnstown Castle Research Centre

Dr. Colin O'Reilly
Teagasc Johnstown Castle Research Centre

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 2    RAINFALL_SIMULATION.xls   (0.03 Mb)
Att 4    Kurz_LS_2.1.2_Report.pdf   (0.72 Mb)
Att 5    Soil_Nutrients.xls   (0.01 Mb)

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Author(s)Kurz, I. O'Reilly, C.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationSmall Plot Study On The Impact Of Grazing Animals On Nutrient Losses to Water
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier58e3207c-42db-102a-b1da-b128b41032cc
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-24

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Kurz, I. O'Reilly, C.   "Small Plot Study On The Impact Of Grazing Animals On Nutrient Losses to Water". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-24)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsNutrient Stocking Nitrogen Cattle Flow
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2000-LS-2.1.2
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceUsage of the data is available to all users. By downloading and using the data you are accepting the data disclaimer for the data. Please familiarise yourself with this document below. In any publication outputs please cite the original producers and owners of this data correctly using the suggested citation information.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 5
Project Start Date Sunday 3rd February 2002 (03-02-2002)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Saturday 23rd March 2002 (23-03-2002)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Tuesday 27th April 2004 (27-04-2004)
Published on SAFERMonday 23rd April 2007 (23-04-2007)
Date of Last EditMonday 23rd April 2007 at 12:56:37 (23-04-2007)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 23rd April 2007 at 12:50:23 (23-04-2007)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The small plot studies were carried out at four sites over 2 years (spring 2002 to spring 2004). Two of the study sites (Dairy Farm and Cowlands) were located at Johnstown Castle, Wexford and two at Grange, Co. Meath. Within each field site, 10 small plots wereselected randomly.The Cowlands site at Johnstown Castle was split into a lower and an upper part because of a wetness gradient. In the upper part, three N and three A plots were randomly selected. In the lower part, two N and two A plots were randomly selected. At each site, cattle had access to five of these plots and they were excluded from the other five. The N plots were fenced with electric wire. The plots to which the animals had access (A) were marked with coloured stakes driven to ground level . To ensure that no machinery drove through these plots, electric fencing posts were used to mark the A plots whenever the animals were not in the fields.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The overall LS2 research programme emphasised
phosphorus (P) rather than nitrogen (N) losses. This approach was also adopted in this study. As overland flow is a very efficient way of P export from grassland areas (Kurz et al., 2005b), the main thrust of the study was to look at the impact of cattle on the occurrence of overland flow and on the P concentrations in
overland flow. However, nitrogen (N), potassium (K), sulphur (S) and suspended solid (ss) concentrations
were also measured in water samples.
Supplementary Information
The loss of nutrients from agricultural land to water bodies is a serious concern in river basin management in many countries. To gain information on the contribution of grazing animals to diffuse nutrient losses from pasture areas to water, this study looked at the impact of cattle on soil hydrology and overland flow quality. Bulk density and macroporosity sampling, resistance to penetration measurements and rainfall simulations to produce overland flow were carried out on plots to which cattle had access and on comparable plots from which cattle were excluded. Areas to which the cattle had access were characterised by significantly lower macroporosity, and higher bulk density and resistance to penetration levels than areas from which the cattle were excluded. The nutrient losses from grassland that can specifically be attributed to the presence of grazing animals were found mainly in the particulate nitrogen, the organic P and in the K exports. Overall, the presence of cattle had a more sustained effect on soil hydrology than on overland flow quality.
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