Animal Waste Management to Protect Water Quality Managing Open Lots and Pasture Systems to Minimize NPS Pollution
Alabama Cooperative Extension System , ANR-790-4.6.8 , 1995
When animal waste from open lots or pastures is exposed to weather, there is potential for leaching and runoff losses. Barnyard effluent carried by rain and melting snow can be a major source of water pollution in rural watersheds. The contribution that pastured livestock will make to nonpoint source pollution is dependent upon the stocking density, length of grazing period, average manure loading rate, manure spreading uniformity by grazing livestock, disappearance of manure with time, distance of livestock from a water body, and quality and quantity of buffer between water sources and animal production and waste dispersion or distribution areas. Good management practices for small open feedlots and pasture systems can minimize the potential for nonpoint pollution. The key factor in controlling nonpoint pollution is controlling runoff and leaching. Many of the standard practices for erosion and sediment control will reduce losses of animal waste pollutants to surface water systems.