SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Seasonal manure application timing and storage effects on field and watershed level phosphorus losses 
Authors:Liu, J., T.L. Veith, A.S. Collick, P.J.A. Kleinman, D.B. Beegle and R.B. Bryant 
Journal:Journal of Environmental Quality 
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Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:phosphorus cycling/loss and transport 
Secondary Application Category:BMP assessment 
Watershed Description:7.3 km^2 WE38 drainage area, located within the overall Chesapeake Bay basin in south central Pennsylvania, U. S. 
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Abstract:Timing of manure application to agricultural soils remains a contentious topic in nutrient management planning, particularly with regard to impacts on nutrient loss in runoff and downstream water quality. We evaluated the effects of seasonal manure application and associated manure storage capacity on phosphorus (P) losses at both field and watershed scales over an 11-yr period, using long-term observed data and an upgraded, variable-source water quality model called Topo-SWAT. At the field level, despite variation in location and crop management, manure applications throughout fall and winter increased annual total P losses by 12 to 16% and dissolved P by 19 to 40% as compared with spring. Among all field-level scenarios, total P loss was substantially reduced through better site targeting (by 48–64%), improving winter soil cover (by 25–46%), and reducing manure application rates (by 1–23%). At the watershed level, a scenario simulating 12 mo of manure storage (all watershed manure applied in spring) reduced dissolved P loss by 5% and total P loss by 2% but resulted in greater P concentrations peaks compared with scenarios simulating 6 mo (fall-spring application) or 3 mo storage (four-season application). Watershed-level impacts are complicated by aggregate effects, both spatial and temporal, of manure storage capacity on variables such as manure application rate and timing, and complexities of field and management. This comparison of the consequences of different manure storage capacities demonstrated a tradeoff between reducing annual P loss through a few high-concentration runoff events and increasing the frequency of low peaks but also increasing the annual loss.