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Phosphorus and trace metal distribution under confined cattle feeding operations in Southern Alberta. (Verteilung von Phosphor und Schwermetallen in Böden unterhalb intensiver Rinderhaltung im südlichen Alberta, Kanada.).

Godlinski, F., Aust, M.-O., Travis, G.R., Hao, X., Thiele-Bruhn, S., McAllister, T.A., and Leinweber, P. (2011). "Phosphorus and trace metal distribution under confined cattle feeding operations in Southern Alberta. (Verteilung von Phosphor und Schwermetallen in Böden unterhalb intensiver Rinderhaltung im südlichen Alberta, Kanada.).", Agriculture and Forestry Research, 61(3), pp. 249-260.

Abstract

Intensive beef cattle production in confined cattle feed¬ing operations (CCFO) are characterized by accumulating layers of solid manure that cover the underlying mineral soil all year round. The extent to which nutrients and trace elements accumulate in the underlying soils is unknown but these present a potential risk to water sources as a re¬sult of surface runoff and leaching. Therefore, concentrations and depth distributions of phosphorus (P) and trace elements as typical marker compounds of manure affected environments were investigated in soil profiles of a research CCFO and compared to an unaffected grassland soil in the semi arid area of southern Alberta, Canada. Mean total P concentrations (TP) in the soil profiles were 384 mg kg-1 for the CCFO and 409 mg kg-1 for the grassland with only few significant differences between the soil profiles within each location and between the two locations. These differences could be explained by slight changes in the parent material. A sequential P fractionation revealed that most P occurred in the HCl fraction (> 51 % of TP), demonstrating strong binding of P to calcium and thus low mobility in these calcareous Dark Brown Chernozemic clay loam soils. There were no uniform enrichments and changes in the P fractions determined after nine years of CCFO operation. Similarly, there was no accumulation of the trace elements Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn in the soil profiles under the CCFO. In conclusion, under current feeding and management practices, there is a low risk of groundwater pollution through leaching from CCFOs un¬der these semi-arid climate conditions.

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