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Estimating the contribution of in-stream cattle faeces deposits to nutrient loading in an English Chalk stream

Estimating the contribution of in-stream cattle faeces deposits to nutrient loading in an English Chalk stream
Estimating the contribution of in-stream cattle faeces deposits to nutrient loading in an English Chalk stream
Numerous studies have shown that the addition of faecal matter from livestock to aquatic ecosystems can have a detrimental effect upon water quality. English Chalk streams, as groundwater-dominated rivers of high ecological importance, are particularly susceptible to nutrient loading from cattle faeces. Naturally low concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in such rivers increase their vulnerability to external perturbation from organic matter inputs. Despite this, the amount of faeces directly contributed by livestock such as cattle to a river system is rarely quantified.

To provide an assessment of nutrient loading due to cattle, a study combining observational data of animal behaviour with faecal analysis was undertaken in an English Chalk stream. Results show that cattle faeces was 89.4% water, containing 0.79% nitrogen, 0.43% phosphorous and 0.43% potassium by wet mass. It was estimated that a herd of 33 cattle deposited over 8 tonnes of faeces into a 770 m river reach over a seven-month period in 2010. This loading is estimated to have increased in-stream nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentrations in the reach by 0.0036 mg l−1, 0.002 mg l−1 and 0.002 mg l−1 respectively; a small proportion of the overall nutrient content of the river. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that by combining behavioural data with faecal data it is possible to estimate the likely nutrient loading due solely to direct inputs from cattle faeces. With sufficient data, calculations such as those employed in this study can be used to provide accurate estimates of the nutrient loading due to livestock in watercourses.
Water quality, Chalk stream, Nutrient loading, Faeces, Cattle
0378-3774
156-162
Bond, Trevor
ef41ecc5-9b74-4615-bf6b-a8002498329e
Sear, David
ccd892ab-a93d-4073-a11c-b8bca42ecfd3
Sykes, Tim
e622a522-7490-4fc8-9869-0f376f73561c
Bond, Trevor
ef41ecc5-9b74-4615-bf6b-a8002498329e
Sear, David
ccd892ab-a93d-4073-a11c-b8bca42ecfd3
Sykes, Tim
e622a522-7490-4fc8-9869-0f376f73561c

Bond, Trevor, Sear, David and Sykes, Tim (2014) Estimating the contribution of in-stream cattle faeces deposits to nutrient loading in an English Chalk stream. Agricultural Water Management, 131, 156-162. (doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2013.08.015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Numerous studies have shown that the addition of faecal matter from livestock to aquatic ecosystems can have a detrimental effect upon water quality. English Chalk streams, as groundwater-dominated rivers of high ecological importance, are particularly susceptible to nutrient loading from cattle faeces. Naturally low concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in such rivers increase their vulnerability to external perturbation from organic matter inputs. Despite this, the amount of faeces directly contributed by livestock such as cattle to a river system is rarely quantified.

To provide an assessment of nutrient loading due to cattle, a study combining observational data of animal behaviour with faecal analysis was undertaken in an English Chalk stream. Results show that cattle faeces was 89.4% water, containing 0.79% nitrogen, 0.43% phosphorous and 0.43% potassium by wet mass. It was estimated that a herd of 33 cattle deposited over 8 tonnes of faeces into a 770 m river reach over a seven-month period in 2010. This loading is estimated to have increased in-stream nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentrations in the reach by 0.0036 mg l−1, 0.002 mg l−1 and 0.002 mg l−1 respectively; a small proportion of the overall nutrient content of the river. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that by combining behavioural data with faecal data it is possible to estimate the likely nutrient loading due solely to direct inputs from cattle faeces. With sufficient data, calculations such as those employed in this study can be used to provide accurate estimates of the nutrient loading due to livestock in watercourses.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 18 August 2013
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 October 2013
Published date: 1 January 2014
Keywords: Water quality, Chalk stream, Nutrient loading, Faeces, Cattle

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435984
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435984
ISSN: 0378-3774
PURE UUID: 3c80d61b-6045-461e-801c-3f910a34a1b9
ORCID for David Sear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0191-6179
ORCID for Tim Sykes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0665-0368

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 02:02

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