Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Transactions of the ASABE Vol. 56(4): 1379-1385


Copyright 2013 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers


Beef feedlot manure distributed to row crop production areas is a potential surface water contaminant source of the steroid hormones commonly used in beef cattle production. This article reports on research conducted at the University of Nebraska Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord, Nebraska, in July 2009. Manure, collected from beef feedlot pens, was stockpiled for ten months prior to application to a row crop field. Previous research identified that the detection frequency of steroid hormones in beef manure varies greatly. Thus, a surrogate (17α-ethynylestradiol, EE2) was applied at a rate of 75 g ha-1 to ensure detectable concentrations in surface runoff samples. EE2 was applied directly to beef cattle manure and to bare soil. The EE2 and manure were either incorporated using a single disk treatment (T) or left on the soil surface in a no-till practice (NT). A rainfall simulation experiment was conducted 24 h after manure and EE2 incorporation using a factorial design consisting of tillage, manure, and EE2 treatments. Runoff samples were collected at 5 min intervals during a 30 min runoff period for each plot. Results indicated 96% less EE2 mass transport from disktilled plots compared to no-till. The greatest loss of EE2 was 156 and 6 mg ha-1 from no-till and disked plots, respectively. Results of this study showed that a single-pass disk tillage treatment can limit the overland transport of steroid hormones from crop production areas.