Manure nutrient management research in southern Alberta
The animal sector is a significant part of Alberta’s agricultural industry. The number of cattle in Alberta has increased by more than 50 percent in the last 25 years (CAESA 1998). Opportunities may support continued expansion of Alberta’s animal sector. Favourable climate and good access to feed and water have resulted in concentrations of intensive feedlot operations in certain regions of Alberta. The effects of manure disposal on soil and water quality are a major concern. Over application of manure can cause surface water contamination from nitrogen, phosphorus, and pathogens. Groundwater can be at risk from nitrate-N, which is very soluble and can leach through soil. Soil quality can be adversely affected by excess nutrients and salts from repeated, heavy applications of manure. The purpose of this paper is to describe the findings of two research studies that examined the environmental effects of cattle manure on soil and groundwater quality in southern Alberta.
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