Nutrient Movement from a Windrow of Dairy Bedding/Leaf Mulch Compost
Seymour, Rose Mary
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To evaluate movement of nutrients from compost windrows, a test bed was designed to capture the runoff from and effluent leaching (leachate) through a moderate size compost windrow. For six natural rain events, discharge volume over time was measured for leachate and runoff from a windrow created on top of the test bed along with rainfall intensity. Samples from leachate and runoff were analyzed for chemical constituents of nitrate-nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, dissolved phosphorus and pH. Nutrient concentrations from the compost effluents varied greatly for the six rainfall events. Nitrate-N concentration in leachate varied from 1.8 to 120 mg/L for the rainfall events. Nitrate-N concentrations from runoff ranged from 0.1 to 6.7 mg/L. Phosphorus concentrations were consistently higher in the leachate than in the runoff. The concentration of the nutrients in the leachate for some of the rain events were high enough to warrant concern for the pollution potential of large windrows placed directly on soils.