Water balance of a feedlot
White, Lisa Nicole
The overall purpose of this study was to define the water balance of feedlot pens in a Saskatchewan cattle feeding operation for a one year period. Although the initial intention of the study was focused upon an active feedlot, cattle were removed from the pens in July 2003. Therefore, the year of analysis was conducted on the manured surface of an inactive feedlot. The water balance was also performed on a scraped soil surface, since manure is removed from the pens and spread on agricultural land, leaving the pen surfaces bare for a short period of time each year. During the monitoring period (Sept. 2003 to Aug. 2004), 313 mm of precipitation was received at the feedlot, but only 84 mm of that total was received before June 2004. Winter precipitation was very low (33 mm) and there was no observed runoff from it. Runoff collection weirs in operation for only part of the summer recorded no runoff. The Green-Ampt and USDA SCS runoff models, as well as a snowmelt runoff equation, were used to predict runoff from both the manure pack, as well as the scraped soil surface. Using manure and soil hydraulic parameters determined in the laboratory (from falling head permeameter measurements) and the field (from rainfall simulations), as well as incorporating the greatest 24 hour rainfall amounts and 30 minute intensities experienced at the feedlot, the USDA model found that 29 mm of runoff would occur from the scraped soil surface. Additionally, snowmelt runoff was estimated to be 19 mm for the winter precipitation received. Drainage beneath the 0.6 m soil depth was negligible and the top 0.6 m of soil experienced an increase in moisture of 54 mm. Finally, 211 mm was lost as evaporation. For the manure pack, no runoff was predicted using the Green-Ampt and USDA SCS models and snowmelt runoff equation, which corresponded well to the lack of runoff measured both from the weir and rainfall simulations. Drainage beneath 0.6 m soil depth was negligible. Of the 313 mm of precipitation that fell during the study year, 42 mm was stored within the manure pack and the rest was lost as evaporation (271 mm).
DegreeMaster of Engineering (M.Eng.)
DepartmentAgricultural and Bioresource Engineering
ProgramAgricultural and Bioresource Engineering
SupervisorMaule, Charles P.; Fonstad, Terrance A.
CommitteeTabil, Lope G.; Elliott, Jane
Copyright DateJanuary 2006
soil moisture storage
scraped soil surface
Guelph Rainfall Simulator