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Keywords:

  • nonpoint source pollution;
  • snowmelt runoff;
  • N and P losses;
  • corn;
  • hog manure;
  • best management practices

ABSTRACT: A two-year study was conducted to assess the effect of hog manure on the losses of nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff and drainage from grain-corn (Zea mays L.) plots, and the importance of spring versus annual loads. Treatments consisted of mineral N-P-K fertilizer applied at rates of 152 kg N ha-1, 35 kg P ha-1, and 86 kg K ha-1; and hog (Sus scrofa domestica L.) manure applied preplant or post-emergence (six-to-eight leaf stage), at 152 kg N ha-1, 39 kg P ha-1, and 112 kg K ha-1. The plots were rototilled (7 cm depth) in spring to incorporate fertilizer and preplant hog manure, and fall chisel-plowed (15 cm depth) to incorporate chopped corn residues. They were arranged in a completely randomized plot design. Flow volumes and nutrient levels in runoff and drainage waters were monitored year round but occurred mainly during the snowmelt (March 25-April 9), and post.snowmelt (April 10-May 13) periods. Of the total amount of water lost during snowmelt, 90 percent was in runoff, while 92 percent occurred as drainage in the post-snowmelt period. Sixty-five percent of the total annual volume of water lost was lost during these two periods as runoff and drainage. Treatments did not affect the annual snowmelt or post-snowmelt N and P loads. Total annual loads averaged 8.0 kg TKN ha-1, 1.8 kg NH4-N ha-1, 43 kg NO3-N ha-1, 0.4 kg TP ha-1, and 0.15 kg PO4-P ha-1. Spring (snowmelt and ost-snowmelt) runoff and drainage loads averaged 2.9 kg TKN ha-1, 1.2 kg NH4-N ha-1, 18 kg NO3-N ha-1, 0.25 kg TP ha-1, and 0.04 kg PO4-P ha-1, which were 40 percent to 70 percent of the yearly nutrient loads. Therefore, the hog manure management systems examined were of no greater threat to the environment than mineral fertilizers. However, spring N and P losses do represent an important part of the annual nutrient loss budget, even with conservation practices.